Persona Non Grata
The definition of dedicated is: (of a person) devoted to a task or purpose; having single-minded loyalty or integrity; (of a thing) exclusively allocated to or intended for a particular service or purpose.
A “dedicated kitchen” is one in which exists an awareness that gluten is persona non grata. Gluten is an element found in wheat, oats, and countless other ingredients, which creates the elastic quality of dough. Annie is a celiac, as is my oldest son, Casey. Actually, we think the other two boys are also celiacs, but the jury is still out on that. A celiac is a person who cannot digest gluten, and therefore must closely monitor everything which is consumed, in order to make sure that no gluten is included.
Being a dedicated kitchen means that I, as the only non-celiac, have to be very careful about how I conduct business. If I make a sandwich out of my sourdough bread, I must be aware that I cannot just slap those slices of bread on the counter, and build myself a sandwich. The presence, now, of gluten on the counter top, could impact others in a very negative manner.
When I bake, I use gluten-free flour, because if I used regular flour, the particles of gluten that are set loose to float around the kitchen, hang in the air for many hours, and will be ingested through breathing, causing digestive problems down the line for those affected.
When I get out the gluten-free mayonnaise, I must be zealous about not double-dipping the knife, after spreading the mayo on the bread. If I dip the knife back into the jar, I will be distributing particles of gluten into what remains of the mayonnaise in the jar. It’s not hard to follow the rules; it’s just that the rules require that you be aware of your actions, lest they cause another discomfort.
As if our dietary restrictions were not already challenging enough, I am not able to digest meat. So I exist in my own realm, as far as food preparation is concerned. I have gone meatless (and dairy-free) for as long as five years at a stretch, so it is not a new concept, but now, it would mean that if Annie were going to have to cook for me also, that she would have to concoct a menu that was very challenging.
Therefore, we have parallel purposes in the kitchen, but work around one another, so that we can each follow the path which works best. Now we are trying to collaborate so that we can find a happy medium, sharing meals that are either meatless, and appealing to her, or that have chunks of meat that I can eat around.
With an organic garden on the premises, we are in great shape for much of the year, but in the dead of winter, it can be challenging. Nothing comes easy, but with effort does come success. It helps to be dedicated to the celiacs in the house. It would also help if I could give up sourdough bread, but my options are already thin, unlike me, who is starting to resemble one of those pears that s staus was talking about. She was talking about a small, tenacious one, and though I am not small, I am tenacious. That’s batting five hundred, and I’ll take that any day.