by Jenn on February 26, 2012

in Gluten Free

Sunday Morning's French Toast

Yes, that is “evil gluten” bread in the photo above. You may be wondering, why, on a declared gluten free blog, am I posting am image of gluteny bread???

As I’m sure many of you know (and if not feel free to check out my about page), my husband is gluten free.  Through the years of sharing our lives together we have come to enjoy learning how to cook and try out several types of GF dishes, from easy naturally gluten free meals to more complicated baked goods, including my many failures in mastering GF puff pastry.

But me, personally? You may not have realized that I actually do not have any issues with gluten.  My husband is the one with the intolerance/sensitivity.  And we have developed a system of habits in our home that do allow us to be a mixed GF/gluten home without incident to my husband.  I’m not a doctor and I’m not saying what we do should be practiced by everyone, and certainly we will re-evaluate when the baby arrives and we get a handle on her sensitivities (or hopefully lack thereof) – and certainly there are some situations where such a practice is not feasible and an entire residence must be GF for the health of those affected, but here’s a little explanation of what we do.

 Why even have gluten in the home?  It’s not because I feel gluten free ingredients are inferior.  Far from it, as I hope you have gleaned from the enthusiasm I have tried to share for our GF creations on this blog.  I love the variety and diversity that makes gluten free living so possible, accessible and enjoyable.  There are only three gluteny products that I keep at home, and the main reason is simply cost.  When I can eat bread at 1/10th of the price of my husband’s GF bread (which costs the equivalent of over $1.00 per slice), I cannot in my mind think it ok to take that away from him by eating his bread, which is often reserved for a special treat.  I also have a package of granola that is oat based for myself, as well as my own gluteny pasta,which I may or may not use depending on what we are making.   The reason for these things is purely cost.  Certified GF oats (which my husband has no issues with) are a rare and precious pantry ingredient for us, usually brought over by friends from the U.S. So when I do make GF granola for him, I usually don’t use it myself because it is too precious.

This morning we made French toast.  So to prevent contamination, I make his first, serve it to him, clean the kitchen, make mine, then clean the kitchen again.


Right away.

I clean the kitchen a lot.

Cleaning glutened dishes requires copious amounts of scalding hot water and soap. Multiple times.  And then a dishwasher cycle.

Living in a mixed GF/gluten household means being extremely careful about these things. I never ever ever bake with any gluten containing flours in our home. Never. Flour gets everywhere and can hang in the air for an extended length of time and to me that type of risk is too great.  Other than the products I mentioned above, everything else I eat at home is GF, just like my husband.  I even keep a special bread knife separated from everything else just for my “evil gluten bread”. I spoon some jam into a separate container and label it “evil gluten jam” which I use to spread on my “evil gluten” bread, so that there is no risk of double dipping and contaminating the whole jar.  I keep a separate stick of butter just for gluten bread. And always, once a utensil has touched gluten, it is done and must be washed.  I’m not saying our method is perfect, nor am I advocating that everyone should try these things, but it is what we do and through these things I can keep a kitchen safe for my husband.

Obviously, it is easiest for both of us to eat gluten free.

And 95% of the time, that is what we do.  The world is full of beautiful gluten free food, and cooking from scratch as much as possible over the past few years has only shown my husband and I how rich and wonderful GF cuisine can be.  If we were rich and could afford 1 CHF/slice of bread for everyone, it would be a different story. But we are not, so we do what we can to make it work for us, and things like his GF bread remain a treat for occasions and good friends coming for a special visit :)

Chateau de Chillon

If you live in a mixed GF/gluten home, how do you manage to keep things gluten free that need to be GF? I’m curious everyone’s experiences and methods – maybe we can all share and pick up some new great habits.

Also submitted to Gluten Free Wednesdays


Rosa February 26, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Wow, that’s a lot of work! I totally underfstand why you prefer to also eat GF food…



Jenn February 26, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Thanks Rosa!

branny February 26, 2012 at 6:48 pm

I always admired your going mostly GF for your husband. That’s so loving.

Jenn February 26, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Thanks Branny!

Fiona February 26, 2012 at 7:41 pm

We’re a mixed household too. I can’t eat gluten, but my husband can. Occasionally he wants some normal bread and that’s fine with me – he has his own bread board, bread knife, tub of butter etc… and he’s very, very good at washing everything up thoroughly as soon as he’s used it. He mostly gets his fill of pizza and other gluten-packed goodies on business trips or if we go out to eat though – safest all round. Best of all he never complains about gluten-free pasta or cookies and cakes (even when I have a baking disaster, which is quite often!).

Jenn February 26, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Thanks Fiona – yeah most GF pasta that we have access to is in fact quite good – and in just made some awesome tasting grain-free cookies last night! Glad you two also have a system that works :)

Jane February 26, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Wow interesting! Since I am gluten free and my husband is not, but I do most of the cooking, he eats gluten free and doesn’t complain! When we go out to eat, he might get something with gluten, but mostly doesn’t just to support me :) I’m so glad I don’t have to cook twice! But, I definitely understand your reasons for wanting to do so!

Jenn February 26, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Aww how nice of him! It’s not often that I will cook twice, as most of the time we both eat gluten free – which is definitely the easiest – just if we are doing things like french toast. If I could master an awesome GF bread (bread is still one of my on-going gluten free baking challenges), I’m sure that would help a lot :)

Lori February 26, 2012 at 7:53 pm

We are a mixed house as well. Like you it is the cost that makes us this way. We have separate things, including toasters. I do occasionally bake with normal flour, but make sure I do a good clean, and that it is clearly labelled.
It seems to be working for us so far…

Jenn February 26, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Thanks, and glad to hear you’ve also got a working system!! Yes separate toasters I think is definitely important if one is toasting bread…

AmandaonMaui February 26, 2012 at 9:04 pm

We are a mostly gluten free house. Every now and then someone will bring Devin something with gluten in it, so we put it in the second fridge or store it away from the rest of the food. He then eats it on a disposable plate (sometimes using regular utensils which go through the hot cycle in the dw) or he eats it outside. Right now he has a bag of cookies which he steps outside to eat from.
If we go out to eat and he has leftover gluten the same procedure is used.

He says to people “I’m definitely not suffering.” he loves the food I make and is happy to be mostly gluten free with me.

Jenn February 27, 2012 at 12:50 am

Thanks Amanda – and glad he is so supportive! I totally agree, eating GF I have never felt “lacking” in any way.

Jonell Galloway February 26, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Great article which wakes people up to the complexity of truly eating gluten free.

Jenn February 27, 2012 at 7:46 am

Thanks Jonell!

Lindsey Johnson February 26, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Wow. I really appreciate this post. I have been eating gluten free for a few months exclusively. I still bake with wheat flour for my family, but I am really starting to think I need to make the whole house GF and just buy the non-GF stuff. My husband hasn’t jumped onto my GF bandwagon yet. I wish he were as supportive as you are to your husband. It makes me wonder how much better I would feel if I got all of the wheat out my house. I don’t think I’m careful enough! Something to think about…

Jenn February 27, 2012 at 7:47 am

Thanks – hmm it may be worth a try, I dunno… good luck!

Toni @ Boulder Locavore February 27, 2012 at 12:42 am

We too are a mixed household Jenn, gluten wise. My children and I are gluten free from need and my husband is not. The only gluten food we keep in the house is cereal and beer. Beer obviously would not easily contaminate anything and my husband’s cereal is sequestered for no chance of mistaken use.

I bake my own bread most of the time with the help of a bread maker and we have a mix we love that I augment for more protein and fiber so that’s fine for my husband too. He’s a great cook so fortunately he’s helped with the searching for good, gluten free substitutes that we can eat without compromising flavor or texture as much as possible (like pasta).

Do you toast your bread in the same toaster as your husband’s? We were gifted from mesh toaster pockets that allow quick rewarming of frozen bread but it’s great for gluten free bread in a gluten toaster too. I can definitely relate to your post. From the ‘other side’ but still we live with the same challenge! We have found with the kids it’s so much more prevalent now that most classrooms are educated on how to handle everything safely as well as to keep the children included.

Jenn February 27, 2012 at 12:56 am

Thanks Toni – we actually don’t own a toaster at all, and if we did it would be for one type of bread only… French toast here is done in a pan or to make plain “toast” I will also pan fry bread. And then I can use separate dishes when cooking… Glad to hear that you have had a good experience in classrooms with your children!

Tiffany February 27, 2012 at 6:55 am

We are a mixed household. I am Celiac and my boyfriend is not. Currently I cook gluten free dinners for us and he fends for himself for lunch. The kitchen is entirely gluten free and then we have a separate table for him, with his own (large) cutting board and toaster where he can make his gluten stuff. He has his own gluten cupboard. It works for the most part, but every once and a while he’ll make a mistake (he tries so hard) and contaminate something. I always clean the counters and stove before preparing anything, just in case. The system works for the most part, but having double condiments of everything really clutters the fridge! If I ever start trying to get pregnant I will probably eliminate gluten entirely from the house, as I am very sensitive and wouldn’t want to mess anything up.

Oh we don’t have a dishwasher, so we use dish gloves and really hot water and I have given him some dedicated utensils and pots.

Jenn February 27, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Ha yes, double condiments do take up a lot of fridge space!

Kate February 27, 2012 at 11:12 am

Thankfully, my husband is extremely supportive and eats entirely GF with me at home (except beer!) When we have visitors, I usually have to buy bread (we live in France and bread is mandatory) but we keep it in a separate area of the house and it’s cut over the sink. This bothers my husband and he goes out of his way to clean EVERYTHING after the bread is gone. It’s very tricky in a tiny apartment to keep a “mixed” house, so 98% of the time, we eat GF. I just buy naturally GF products and we don’t eat much bread as GF buckwheat crackers have filled that void for my dear husband. I’m sure your husband appreciates your willingness to keep him safe just as much as I appreciate mine! Bon Appétit!

Jenn February 27, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Oooh I may have to find some of those buckwheat crackers, that sounds like something we both would love!

Megan February 27, 2012 at 5:50 pm

We live in an interesting mixed household too. My husband is the one with Celiac Disease. I am the vegan. My husband also has intolerances to dairy and eggs, so primarily everything I bake is gluten-free and vegan. It’s an interesting trade off though. I don’t eat or cook gluten because I want to make sure he is healthy. I eat and cook vegan and therefore my husband ends up having to eat vegan. I don’t complain, he doesn’t complain. (Not that I’ve heard anyway! Haha.)

When we dine out however … he eats meat and I don’t worry about gluten in my food. It’s the only ‘time off’ from our otherwise very strict household eating habits.

Jenn February 27, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Yep, I also reserve certain gluteny pleasures for myself for occasions when we dine out – most of those things are not something I should be cooking on a regular basis anyways! Sounds like you two have a good system worked out.

Alta February 27, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Glad to see you write a post about this, Jenn! We are also a mixed household, for the same reasons, mostly, as you are. I am the one that must eat gluten-free, but there are 3 hungry teens (that live there part-time) and my husband that do not. I can’t imagine trying to feed picky teens that are used to dining on meals of pizza, grilled cheese, burgers, and the like only gluten-free breads (at $6/loaf). I can bake myself and am getting much better at it, and most of the meals I prepare when they’re over are naturally gluten-free anyway, but for breakfasts and snacks, many time, they are on their own or are making something quick, which involves gluten-full bread or cereal. We have many of the same practices as you do – only we actually have separate cookware for gluten foods, such as spatulas, skillets and the like. I don’t believe that any amount of scrubbing and hot water can get gluten out of all of the little crevices of certain tools. We don’t bake with flour in the house (I have made one exception for my step-daughter, but we mixed all of the flour ingredients outside so we wouldn’t contaminate the house). I am the one who cooks, so usually, I control what happens with food and am comfortable. The kitchen does get cleaned A LOT though, especially when there are gluten foods present!

Jenn February 27, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Thanks Alta – I really need to improve my GF bread baking skills – I think that would help our situation a lot.

Andrea A February 27, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Wow…I feel like I was reading a script of my life…I have 2 boys who are Celiac, and 3 other kids who aren’t…I toyed with the idea of having a completely GF home, but cost wise couldn’t cut it….besides GF we also keep kosher, so that adds a whole other cost. I only keep bread, pasta and a few cereals in the house…other then that all flour is GF as well as GF bread crumbs….so far it has worked out…..

Nice to read I am not the only one!

Jenn February 27, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Yes it sounds like we operate very similarly!

Richa@HobbyandMore February 27, 2012 at 9:06 pm

We are not a gf household. But a lot of my online blogger friends and gf and one of our close friends recently found out about her gluten intolerance. Thats one reason i am trying my hand at glutenfree yeast breads. Most Indian food is naturally glutenfree, so when i hosted a dinner for the friend, it turned out easy. The only think with gluten is flat bread or regular bread and both use either than 1 pan reserved for the flat bread or the bread pans. I even separated out the mixing bowls if i had to use any for that dinner.
My friend was really delighted about the dinner because most of our friend circle was at a loss about gf diet. I guess being vegan and a food blogger opens up a whole new world of information. Thank you for sharing your story.

Jenn February 27, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Yes I also need to start learning more about cooking Indian food, precisely because so much of it is gluten free! And I agree, naturally gluten free meals are def. the easiest :)

Marilyn McMillan February 27, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Ours is a mixed house too – though like you NO gluten flours. We have a “gluten” drawer with bread and Cheerios for my 15 year old son and husband. The sharpie comes out if a jar of jam gets contaminated by mistake, otherwise we do the spoon it out approach. Interestingly, with Lauren away (our only celiac) we are generally keeping the same routines – just a little less vigilant with checking labels etc. And I have bought wheat bakery buns – once!

Jenn February 29, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Ooooh a sharpie is a good idea for labeling – funny how our habits and routines stay with us – I think it will be interesting to see how our habits/routines stay the same or change in the next few months!

Debbie February 27, 2012 at 9:43 pm

We are also divided household. I am the one with the gluten issue. My husband keeps bread which he uses for lunches. He likes peanut butter and cheese crackers for snacks which I buy prepackaged single serve, I do keep regular crackers for him and for the family at holidays along with onion dip. We have a toaster oven so I have an extra pan with a rack and if he wants toast he uses that and the flips his bread. I just have to make sure I clean afterwards. We each have our own butter and condiments I put small amounts into separate little dishes for him unless they can be safely squeezed out.He also uses gluten cereal and we keep all the gluten things separate. I do keep a separate knife and spatula in case for gluten items. Other than those issues he is extremely good about eating gluten free. If I bake bread he wants some and he tells me all the cookies and cakes I make are better than the gluten ones. Except for the above mentioned crackers and the onion dip our holidays are gluten free. He does eat bread when we go out and I would not want to deprive him.

Jenn February 29, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Sounds like I need to try some of your cookie and cake recipes!! I have always had a hard time with gluten free cookies for some reason… thanks for sharing your methods :)

Ginger February 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Right now, even though we recently got married, we live 4.5 hours apart. So now we have 2 sets of everything. I am the gluten free one, but we both cook and we always cook gluten free. We have gluten crackers and beer in the house and our toaster where I live is gluten free. We have rule that if gluten has touched it, it goes in the dishwasher. Occasionally he buys some gluten bread but neither of us are huge bread eaters. He is super careful and is always watchful for me as I am so used to cooking gluten free that sometimes I forget to ask an obvious question at a restaurant. When we go out, we do eat a lot of Indian and Ethiopian as they are so non gluten oriented. Actually we cook a lot of Indian too. I don’t think either one of us feels like we are missing out and he gets plenty of pizza and burger buns from restaurant dining.
Congrats on your baby news!

Jenn February 29, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Thanks Ginger! I def. need to learn some Indian recipes, we love Indian cuisine and so much of it is naturally gluten free, but I have not cooked much Indian food yet…

Melanie February 28, 2012 at 7:47 am

It’s so wonderful how you have embraced gluten free cooking even though you are not yourself gluten intolerant. Your husband is a very lucky man to have such amazing support! I am mostly gluten free because it has helped me with several chronic health issues. More and more research is surfacing that even people who are not Celiac or gluten intolerant benefit from eliminating wheat. You might enjoy looking at Sayer Ji’s research on the inflammatory properties of wheat to realize how much your generosity in accommodating your husband’s dietary needs may be benefiting you too!

Jenn February 29, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Thanks so much – and I’ll go check out the article :)

Laura February 28, 2012 at 11:00 pm

we are also a mixed household. I do all of the cooking (occasionally my hubby does), but we prepare “naturally gluten free” meals for everyone. I make the kids sandwiches at the table far away from the kitchen, or just have my six year old do it. We have eliminated the need for separate condiments, by using one knife to put say…peanut butter into a ramekin, jelly in another, and than use what we’ve dished out to make gluten bread sandwiches for the kiddos. that way we don’t have two of everything and no double dipping ensues. =) it works very well. I have a separate pan for cooking gluten free in, a separate toaster and waffle maker. Though we’ve come to terms that it’s easiest to make all those meals gluten free for everyone. We use certified gluten free Buckwheat to make group breakfasts, as it’s cheapest and whole grain and tasty for everyone! we keep all the gluten items on the bottom shelf in our pantry so nothing crumbs on top of the gluten free items. we eat a lot of fruits and veggies and brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, so we don’t have to worry about GF pastas or breads not being up to par for the gluten eating individuals. My hubby eats GF most of the time, so he doesn’t have to “scrub his mouth out with soap” to kiss me and not contaminate me. =)

Jenn February 29, 2012 at 8:37 pm

I love buckwheat!! It’s great for breakfast – and great tip about keeping gluten on the bottom shelf to avoid stray crumbs floating down!

Jonathan March 1, 2012 at 6:38 am

Wonderful insight into a slice of your life. “Evil gluten jam” makes me giggle. :)

Jenn March 1, 2012 at 8:50 am

Thanks Jonathan! haha – it makes it clear it’s been glutened, no? :)

Jeanne @ CookSister! March 7, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Jeepers, that IS a lot of cleaning! If eating gluten meant that in my house, I’d also be following your largely gluten-free regime 😉 Seriously though, it is shocking how expensive GF products can be. Gorgeous pictures as always – want to live in that lakeside chateau!

Jenn March 7, 2012 at 6:59 pm

ha thanks Jeanne!

MonsterAteMy March 7, 2012 at 2:46 pm

We’re a mixed household too, and like you keep a small number of gluten-filled things around purely because of cost. Bread is the biggie. The GF bread is too expensive (and truthfully, not nutritious enough) for the gluten-eaters to use on a regular basis. We have one toaster, but have labeled each side with a Sharpie so that gluten/GF breads don’t mix. Like you, we only bake with gluten-free flours (and I’m hoping to find an easy, nutritious bread recipe that could replace the expensive Udi’s we currently use). I don’t feel safe cooking gluten-filled pasta (even with a dishwasher –it’s just too sticky), so we all eat Tinkyada and simply don’t have it as often to help with the expense. We’re vigilant about labeling and being careful with condiments and the like. It does get easier with experience!

Jenn March 7, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Thanks for sharing your experience, and really interesting that you don’t trust gluteny pasta even with a dishwasher. Will have to think about that…

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