Hey! keep your toast crumbs to yourself

Added on 23 Aug, 2005 . There are .

I'm guessing that there's no one single family where every family member has a wheat allergy. I may of course now be proved wrong, but the chances of it happening must be greater than of me winning the lottery top prize.

But indulge me if you will, and work on the premise that virtually every household that contains someone with a wheat or gluten allergy, also contains someone without any problems with wheat or gluten (unless of course it's a single occupation household).

So how do you cope when some people are toasting bread, showering the kitchen with breadcrumbs, sticking their crumb covered knife into the jam or peanut butter? Well a few simple house rules should do the trick.

Hands up, well virtual hands up all of you reading this, and I know that there are a lot of you that do (thank you), if you use a knife to get your butter or fat spread out of it's container, spread it on your bread or crackers, then use the same knife to get your jam, peanut butter, Marmite, chocolate spread, etc from the jar without cleaning the knife first. Shame on you, I can feel the virtual hands up in the air from here.

Did you notice the crumbs and other debris that you left behind in the container? Where there crumbs already in it when you went to use it from the last time? Yeeeuk!

By now you've probably already worked out my first point about wheat free hygiene. Don't be dunking your dirty utensils into jars and containers of food products. We may have thought that our grandmothers were a bit odd insisting on having jam pots with little spoons sticking out of the lids on the table when we were kids. But it meant that we weren't dipping dirty knives into the jam, instead we were taking a spoonful of jam and dropping it onto our bread or plate to spread. And the spoon went back into the jam pot with only jam on it.

So this one's easy then, just use teaspoons in your jars when you're helping yourself to your peanut butter, preserves, honey or any other spread. If everyone in the house follows this rule then the next time you open the butter you won't see an infestation of stale breadcrumbs, or a jam tide mark on its surface.

The alternative is of course to have all your own, separately labelled jars or products, with 'wheat free – contaminate at your peril' on them. Going to get expensive though, and just think of all the extra fridge room you'll take up.

So moving on from what you're spreading on your wheat free toast, just how did you make your toast? Toaster or grill? If you used a toaster, is it also used for wheat containing bread? Because those crumbs just get everywhere, and you're risking wheat contamination by using it, even though you might have given it a good shake.

Either have your own toaster, again a bit expensive and space wasting, use the oven grill, or give up eating toast. But I hear you shout "I can't eat Marmite without toast". Well I've given you two options, your own toaster or the grill.

Finally, remember that it's not fair to expect everyone in your household to stop eating wheat just because you can't eat it. Wheat free and wheat eating people can exist in the same house, and safely in the same kitchen, with just a little bit of intelligent thought.

For more suggestions check out the hygiene page.