Renting a place (whether that’s Airbnb or a chalet somewhere) is the easiest way to make sure you have gluten-free options on holiday. Unfortunately, there’ve been other people in that rental before you & they might not share your dedication to avoiding gluten cross-contamination.
Here’s what I do to make sure I can eat safely in a rented kitchen.
It starts before you leave, really. You’ll want to bring some (dish) towels to make sure you’ve got something that’s gluten-free to clean up with in the first place. If the place you’re renting comes with linen included, make sure it’s cleaned by a dry cleaners, because they put everything in sealed plastic bags. The last thing you want is finding those clean towels sitting on the worktops in the kitchen when you walk in.
Also, bring a sample size bottle of the dish soap you use at home, that way you know it’s gluten-free & hasn’t been touched by loads of people who just had a sandwich before they did the dishes. Bring some small containers with salt, herbs, & spices if you plan on using those.
Check out what shops there are at your destination, they probably have an online delivery service so you can see what brands they sell. Either go shopping after you arrive or have some gluten-free staples delivered.
You’ll also want to try & bring a small cutting board from home as well (a light plastic one that fits in your suitcase should do the trick). Plastic cutting boards don’t absorb gluten, but the ones in holiday rentals are always ‘thoroughly used’ to say the least. All those cuts in the plastic are the perfect place for tiny bits of gluten to hide. There’s no way you’ll be able to scrub that out (and not a way to spend your holiday anyway).
If bringing your own cutting board seems like a step too far & you’re not planning on doing much cooking while you’re away, just use a plate instead.
With all that prep work done, let’s get to what you should done once you’ve arrived.
Start by using one of the dishrags to clean the sink. This is going to be your ‘I can breathe here, it’s gluten-free’ spot for now. Use hot & soapy water. Take a new cloth & clean the counter and the hob.
It’s such a relief for me once those parts of the kitchen are safe!
Next up is cutlery, glasses, plates, pots, & pans.
Only clean what you know you’ll be using & take that out of the drawers and cupboards. Put everything in the sink (in, not next to it, that saves you more cleaning after) and use a new cloth to give it all a good scrub. Don’t put everything back in the drawers, they’re the perfect gluten hiding place. Leave everything you’ll be using (that’s probably only going to be some knives, forks & a couple of plates) on the counter.
If you’ll be using the fridge, the best thing to do is only clean the shelves you’ll be using or put towels on the shelves and put your food on there.
When you’re only going away for a couple of days
Just do the sink & put a towel on the counter to use as a safe space. You can use disposable plates & cutlery (pick an eco-friendly brand, please) to avoid scrubbing the silverware too. To be honest, I bring most of my own stuff. I’m like a very religious family all on my own, so #sorrynotsorry to everyone who’s had to put up with me showing up with my own pans.
About the Author
Sarah Frison is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She has had gluten intolerance, dysautonomia & gastroparesis for over 5 years now, probably even longer. Before she was diagnosed, she was trianing to be a pastry chef. You can imagine she loved gluten! She sharse recipes, tips & tricks, and how-to guides like this one over at sarahfrison.com.