Friday, 15 November 2013

My Strainer Fiasco

Contamination is one of those tricky subjects. A lot of celiacs will turn blue trying to avoid any form of contamination, refusing to eat food that even entered a kitchen containing gluten. Some people seem to think contamination isn't a big deal at all, giving me looks when I ask that they wash that knife or grab a new spoon. There's a spectrum of people at every level in between.

Personally, I do as much as I can. People who live in my house eat gluten. That means my kitchen has gluten in it. Crumbs get on the counters, dirty dishes go in the dishwasher, things happen. I wash all of the dishes in the same loads, and I definitely don't have a separate set of utensils. I don't use a dish if someone else has used it, no matter what they used it for. I don't put my food on a bare counter unless I just wiped it down. I think I toe a pretty safe line.

I've been eating pasta every day for lunch, and since it doesn't seem to keep well, I make enough for one meal at a time. This means that I use a pot, a large spoon and a colander every single day. It gets a little much to wash it every time, so I just reuse them. I rinse them after, and usually again before. The water boils, so I figure it's pretty germ-safe.

Lately, my sister has also been making pasta every day, and she'll reuse her pot and colander. To keep everyone from getting confused, I put my spoon in my pot and my strainer upside down on top of it, and then set it aside. I asked what everyone thought, and everyone in the house said it was clear that those dishes were gluten-free. Foolproof, right?

The other day, I put pasta on. I placed my colander in the sink, ready for my pasta to drain. The other sink still had my sister's colander from the last time she used it. When my pasta was done, I dumped the pot in the colander and instantly realized that it was the wrong colander. I stood there for a moment, debating tossing the pasta out, and then decided not to. The thing had been rinsed and didn't have any chunks of noodles sticking around, so how bad could it be?

Man, I was so wrong. I didn't get violently ill or anything, but I did spend several hours laying on the couch, my stomach in spasms of pain. I'd say a level two out of ten on the sick scale.

So, just to clear up any confusion, I am highly sensitive to contamination. Dishes must be washed, and not just rinsed. When will I learn?

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