Should I Keep Allergens in the House?
Soon after I learned of Joseph’s allergies, I decided that I wanted to get rid of all allergens in the house possible. I knew that my husband and daughter would rebel against me if I got rid of all milk and bread, but I liked the idea that other allergy moms expressed about having home be a safe haven for their kids. I also didn’t like the idea of using twice as many dishes to cook two separate meals for dinner – one with allergens, and one without.
So, over the past few months, we’ve been eating up all our regular pasta and all purpose flour. As we were getting to the end, one of my friends had a baby, and I wanted to take her a meal. As I put together a pasta dish, I wondered what I would do if I had only gluten-free pasta in the house? Why use my special ingredients on her family when they wouldn’t appreciate it, and Joseph wouldn’t even benefit?
Then we had a bunch of family in town. As we had meals for 16+ people, I wondered what I would do if I didn’t have these regular staples in the house? It’s not worth the expense to feed 16 people on gluten-free food. Sure, I could do meals heavy on the rice, but what about desserts? There are not very many desserts that can be made with non-specialty food that Joseph can eat.
So, I have settled on a compromise. When it is just our family, I will cook dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free foods. But I will keep a small amount of flour and pasta made from wheat for those times when I will be cooking for people beyond our family.
I am aware of the risk for cross-contamination. I think we’ve handled it pretty well up until now with my giving Joseph his own purees for dinner while we eat gluten and dairy. The bigger risk is not from flour in the air, but from Joseph swiping Rachel’s crackers. She’s so picky, that I knew I wouldn’t be able to take those out of the house. And since I’ve read on various blogs about other mothers choosing to keep some allergens in the house, with obvious labels so kids know what’s safe, I feel good about this decision.
What are your thoughts?