Gluten Free at Other Peoples Houses: a letter to someone who’s cooking for you

14th July 2020
Blog post

Hi you,

Firstly, thank you for inviting me over for dinner!

I wanted to share this letter with you because I have coeliac disease. That means I can’t eat even the tiniest speck of gluten without being very ill. It can potentially cause long term damage to my body.

This letter will hopefully explain all the things we need to do to make sure I’m safe. It can sound quite alarming but please don’t worry… follow these rules and it’ll all be fine!!

How to tell if a product is coeliac safe:

You can just send me pictures of anything you use and I can tell you, or follow this handy little guide.

Gluten can hide in sneaky places, from squash to stock cubes and even some spices, so we’ll have to check all the bits you’re using 🙂

Other things you need to know about cooking for me:

Gluten can’t even touch my food as it will “cross contaminate” it. Think of gluten as poison – there can’t be any risk I’m consuming it!! Here’s some of the rules I have to follow to make sure that is the case:

  1. SURFACES: Wipe down all surfaces before starting to cook
  2. BAKING TRAYS: If they have had gluten on them previously, cover them in tin foil before putting anything gluten free on them just incase there’s a bit of stubborn gluten clinging on there!
  3. TOASTING: we can either toast on a clean grill or a use toaster bag in your toaster
  4. OIL: If you are frying something, you can’t have used the oil to cook something with gluten in it before. Sadly, the heat won’t kill off gluten!
  5. CONDIMENTS: I can’t eat any condiments that might have had any kind of gluten crumbs in it. For example if you’ve buttered a sandwich made with normal bread, there might be breadcrumbs in the butter so I won’t be able to eat it. I can bring my own with me!
  6. HANDS: If you touch something that contains gluten, you will need to wash your hands before you touch something gluten free. For example if you pick up some normal yorkshires, you can’t then touch my gluten free ones! Same applies for utensils. For example you can’t stir gluten-containing gravy with a spoon and then use the same spoon to stir my gluten-free gravy.

Sharing Foods & Buffets:

If people touch some gluten-containing foods and then touch the gluten free foods, they won’t be safe anymore. Easiest solution: I can take my stuff before anyone touches the buffet and then no one has to worry!

If you have any questions or if I can help with the cooking, just ask!! I really appreciate you going to the effort to accommodate me.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

2 Comments

  • Emma

    14th July 2020 at 9:29 pm

    Love this idea. My daughter has been diagnosed during lockdown and the thought of eating elsewhere makes me quite anxious. The only other things I’ve thought of are chopping boards (plastic or wooden) and wooden spoons. I was told both of those if previously used for gluten could contaminate a coeliac.

    1. jkitchengf

      15th July 2020 at 10:51 am

      Hey Emma! Oh it must have been so hard and odd being diagnosed during this crazy time – please shout if I can help! (I’ve got a whole section of “help” posts on here!!). It comes down to personal judgement I guess but I wouldn’t say plastic chopping boards would create any problems as long as they are properly washed in between. Wooden can be slightly trickier if its possible for crumbs to get stuck in the grain, but again I’ve got a wooden one and we give it a good scrub after every use and I’ve never had an issue! Same with wooden spoons.

      You might also hear you need separate sponges etc but Coeliac UK say thats not necessary – https://www.coeliac.org.uk/information-and-support/your-gluten-free-hub/home-of-gluten-free-recipes/new-to-gluten-free-cooking/cross-contamination/

      Hope that helps
      Jess x

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