I love a bargain and don’t like wasting money but I prefer high-quality things. This posed a dilemma as I faced the gluten-contaminated items amassed in our home. I felt panicked and a little nauseated when assessing the stockpile of the wares accumulated over decades. When eyeing my bakeware, I felt especially queasy. My mental cash register went wild, hearing loudly cha-ching $$, cha-ching $$$.
Like in the cartoons, a devil was perched over one shoulder whispering:
“How compromised can it be? . . . With a good scrubbing, it will be just fine!”
“Those beautiful German cake pans are spendy.”
“You can’t get rid of it!”
On my other shoulder, an angel exclaiming:
”This is unsafe! You cannot continue to use these items. They are toxic!”
“Using them would be is unkind and selfish.”
“For the sake of your child, you must remove all of it.”
Blessed logic prevailed, offering me a compromise. With two sweet-toothed gluten eaters in the house and only ¼ of the household with celiac, I opted to box up the best of the wares and relegate them to a storage container in the garage for use on rare occasion. Perhaps in the next wave of purging, they will be re-homed – or may be passed on to the next generation. For now, the gluten-infested bakeware threat is contained in a large plastic tub in the garage.
I knew things had to change, yet I simply couldn’t throw everything away.
Following the first, second, or third wave of purging, a potentially expensive and time-consuming prospect presents itself. Since keeping your loved one safe from poison is a top priority, it is imperative to replace the necessities and find a safe space to store them. I would like to say that I did this in an orderly fashion, but our process was piecemeal and haphazard at best. For the sake of brevity, let’s just say I did this in one efficient and well-considered swoop.
The following revisionist tale is factually accurate when you apply the sage words of Seinfeld’s oracle George Costanza:
What a great day it was . . .
. . . There I was with my color-coded and cross-referenced shopping list of items to replace. I knew the online and in-store prices of my carefully considered wares so I was assured I’d get the biggest bang for my buck.
I confidently strode into TJ Maxx/Marshalls/HomeGoods exhilarated with the thrill of the hunt! Ever time-efficient, I left with high-quality cutting boards, a new colander, storage containers in the exact dimensions needed, sheet pans, cleaning supplies, precut parchment sheets in quarter and half sheet pan sizes, spatulas, whisks, silicone baking mats, cake pans, and beautiful Pyrex pans with lids! Wow! 20+ years ago they didn’t come with lids! The list goes on. I purchased it all in one location, all at least 42% off of the retail price. It all fit comfortably into a single tidy bag that left ample space in my car for the GF grocery run that came next.
Prior to the shopping spree, I identified a safe space in my kitchen where all of our brand-spanking new celiac safe products would reside. Shelves were already scrubbed and lined. Upon my return from the shopping adventure, I opened the doors to this safe haven and magically all of the goods fit into their spaces perfectly, as the last piece in a jigsaw puzzle . . . The End.
TIPS & TAKEAWAYS:
- Identify GF Spaces: In the kitchen we have a lower cabinet that is gluten-free and only GF items are on the shelves. The upper cabinet only has GF items because of gravity. If you store your regular all-purpose flour above your GF shelves and there is a spill, the GF shelves are now contaminated.
- Consider Color Coding: We have both gluten-free and gluten-friendly folks in one home, and the same goes for our wares. To make it easier to differentiate these items, select colors to provide you visual cues to exercise caution.
- Start with the Basics: When considering what you need, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Take a minute and consider how you cook, what you use, and what your family member with celiac uses and doesn’t use. I wanted to replace EVERYTHING but could not afford the space or money to do so. Pare down your list. Most people need some key items – cutting boards, colander, a sheet pan, a couple of rubber spatulas, and some cooking utensils.
- Thoughtfully Improvise: If budget is a concern, consider that parchment paper is a great substitute for silicone baking mats. You can store food in bowls covered with wrap or repurpose the jars and original containers in which your GF food was purchased. If you have mason jars, consider buying some reasonably priced plastic lids and use them!
- Space Concerns: Extra space is not a luxury most of us have. If you are tight on space, think of purchasing collapsible items such as colanders, funnels, and measuring cups.