Re: Question about Common Meals - Cooking for Celiacs
From: Bonnie Fergusson (fergyb2yahoo.com)
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 2009 11:15:12 -0700 (PDT)
    My husband has Celiac disease, and we live in Cohousing and participate 
fully in the Common Meal Program.  We provide wheat free Tamari Sauce and 
gluten free flour in the Common House pantry and a few gluten free mixes for 
cakes and cookies and post a list of things that do and don't have gluten in 
them on the fridge.  Most of the cooks manage to come up with a gluten free 
entree that he can eat, although once in a while someone forgets so he always 
asks the cooks du jour about what's in their dishes.  The most common solution 
is they set a one person portion aside which has rice noodles, say, instead of 
the wheat noodles in everyone elses meal.  Over time people have gotten in the 
habit of making rice instead of couscous and using wheat free Tamari instead of 
regular soy sauce, using corn tortillas instead of wheat ones and thickening 
sauces with cornstarch. Eating out of a kitchen where wheat or other gluten 
rich foods are sometimes cooked or
 cleaning up in one has not been a problem.  Perhaps people have different 
degrees of sensitivity to gluten.  We know that what we're doing is working 
because he has since had a colonoscopy and they can see that all the villi in 
his gut have grown back since he started on the gluten free diet path (we were 
already in Cohousing when he was diagnosed) so whatever minute amounts of 
gluten he gets from eating food cooked in the same kitchen where wheat, etc. is 
sometimes used doesn't seem to hurt him.  The reality is that an entirely 
gluten free diet is nearly impossible to achieve either in Cohousing or out of 
it because of the minute contamination issue but one can achieve good enough 
for a healthy life which is the goal.  Providing the ingredients in the Common 
House to make it easy for the cooks to make gluten free meals is the key, that 
plus education.  And a willingness to scrounge a meal from your own kitchen on 
those occasions when the cooks forget
 that barley has gluten or use regular soy sauce in the dish.
                Bonnie Fergusson
                Swan's Market Cohousing
                Oakland, CA

--- On Tue, 7/14/09, Douglas G. Larson <ddhle [at] earthlink.net> wrote:

> From: Douglas G. Larson <ddhle [at] earthlink.net>
> Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Question about Common Meals - Cooking for Celiacs
> To: cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org
> Date: Tuesday, July 14, 2009, 4:04 AM
> 
>  
> 
> > What do any of you do when community members have
> special food needs?   
> > While there are many iterations of such a situation,
> my own would be that
> I cannot ingest gluten (anything containing 
> > wheat, barley, malt or rye) -- due to celiac
> disease.  This doesn't just
> mean I'm fine if I just avoid the bread or  
> >  pasta at common meals ... it actually means I am
> not able to eat any food
> prepared in a kitchen contaminated with  
> > gluten.  And > means also that I could not
> share cooking or clean up
> duties because of the potential contamination, as > 
> > wheat flour pretty much gets everywhere.  (I
> could clean up if I wore
> gloves and a mask, I suppose.)  Surely this 
> > problem has come up in some communities, as it seems
> that lots of people
> (including, perhaps especially, kids) have 
> > peanut and other food allergies as well.
> 
> 
> While no one at our community has Celiac, several are
> gluten intolerant,
> including myself. 
> 
> Our food program tradition at Songaia has been to honor all
> dietary
> restrictions, including the gluten intolerant ones. If
> someone makes pasta
> for dinner, they have a gluten-free version (usually rice
> pasta) as well.
> When I cook, I don't contaminate any gluten-free dishes
> with utensils used
> in gluten containing dishes. I don't know if the practices
> we follow here
> would be sufficient for your dietary needs. As another
> responder noted, your
> Celiac appears to be quite sensitive. But it doesn't sound
> difficult to me. 
> 
> I personally believe that honoring all dietary restrictions
> of community
> members, regardless of how difficult that is, is one of the
> best, if not the
> best, community building actions any community can
> take.  
> 
> 
> Douglas G. Larson,
> Songaia Cohousing
> 
> You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to
> run by running, to
> work by working; and just so, you learn to love by loving.
> All those who
> think to learn in any other way deceive themselves. - Saint
> Francis de Sales
> 
> 
> 
> 
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
> > What do any of you do when community members have
> special food needs?   
> > While there are many iterations of such a situation,
> my own would be that
> I cannot ingest gluten (anything containing 
> > wheat, barley, malt or rye) -- due to celiac
> disease.  This doesn't just
> mean I'm fine if I just avoid the bread or  
> >  pasta at common meals ... it actually means I am
> not able to eat any food
> prepared in a kitchen contaminated with  
> > gluten.  And > means also that I could not
> share cooking or clean up
> duties because of the potential contamination, as > 
> > wheat flour pretty much gets everywhere.  (I
> could clean up if I wore
> gloves and a mask, I suppose.)  Surely this 
> > problem has come up in some communities, as it seems
> that lots of people
> (including, perhaps especially, kids) have 
> > peanut and other food allergies as well.
> 
>     
> 
> 
> 
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