Q: I enjoyed your recent column about the family with kitchen storage problems. I also love a clutter-free kitchen and enjoy cooking from scratch, especially baked goods. Unfortunately, I was recently diagnosed with celiac disease and the rest of my family doesn't like the recipes I am trying. Now, the clutter doubles as I have to cook two of nearly everything. What advice would you have for someone like me?
A: If ever there was a good reason for duplication in kitchen items, a food allergy or sensitivity would certainly be it. I'm sorry to hear you're dealing with this. For those who don't know, a person with celiac can damage his or her digestive system if wheat gluten is ingested.
Going 100 percent gluten free in our culture is very difficult, as it's hard to tell when cross-contamination happens. Flour dust floats around in restaurant kitchens and bakeries, so the "GF" bread sticks may simply be "reduced gluten." In a store, if just one person dips the used wheat flour scoop into the GF rice flour bin because that scoop went missing, boom, the whole bin of rice flour is no longer gluten free at all, even if the label says so.
In your own kitchen, especially pertaining to clutter and storage of common kitchen items and foods, you already know it's going to be critically important to reduce cross-contamination. If you're ultra sensitive and share a cutting board or even the toaster, if you butter your gluten-free toast with the same knife as your kids used, or use the same griddle after cooking their pancakes, you risk a reaction.
My suggestion for you will actually help reduce visual clutter. Dedicate a separate cabinet or pantry with a door for items like duplicate cutting boards, dry goods, toasters, flour sifters, rolling pins, etc. Perhaps this spot is a little less convenient so your family won't just reach for your cutting board. To reinforce this, consider choosing a signature color such as green, and buy items that color for use with your gluten-free foods only.
There are a lot of amazing websites out there right now on the topic, too.