When beginning to prepare gluten-free food, it is important to clean the kitchen thoroughly to eliminate any risk of cross-contamination. The safest thing for a celiac is to have food prepared only in a completely gluten-free kitchen. However, some celiacs do manage to safely maintain a divided kitchen.
The important things to consider when preparing gluten-free food is what you're using and whether it might be contaminated with gluten. Things that can't be decontaminated include:
- Toasters – you'll never get all the crumbs out
- Unsealed wooden tools – wooden spoons soak up gluten and then release it next time they're stirring your soup
- Scratched nonstick cookware – gluten gets into the cracks
- Plastic tools and containers that have been heated – nylon and silicon tools are fine
If you're decontaminating an entire kitchen, clean it thoroughly. The cupboard where crackers are kept can be a minefield of crumbs. If you're only going to be working in one area, clean that area well. And keep in mind that wheat flour stays in the air for 24 hours after you've been working with it and that batter can get stuck in the crevices of mixer beaters. One crumb is enough to make some celiacs very ill, and it's much better to be safe than sorry.