Thursday, May 5, 2011

In the Kitchen: Cross-Contamination

Time out for a personal rant.

When we bought our house about 17 months ago it seemed to have a more than sufficient kitchen. On the surface everything looked shiny and in good working condition. The cabinets are quality wood, and there is even a much desired pantry. I remember Jason saying 'I don't think there is enough counter space for you' and me saying 'I don't really like the tile counters'. But those things were put on the 'minor issues' list because the size of the lot was so important.

I now spend the majority of my waking hours in or around the kitchen. And I now know that the kitchen is ridiculously poor designed for someone who intends to actually cook. Nevermind the constant issue of cross-contamination. When I cook for the rest of the family it involves cook, clean, cook some more, clean some more, keep things out of reach, and not letting the wrong foods or utensils or shelves in the refrigerator touch the wrong things. I have now spent the last couple of months getting my bone broth, boiled meat, and vegetable puree down to a science. Clean, boil, clean, strain, clean, puree, finally hit me this week that I may be doing this for a very long time (like years), just to get basic nutrition into Ellie. There has to be an easier way to do this!

We have very limited counter space. Today we have the vitamix out to make pureed meat and veggies, 9 jars of broth cooling, one section of the counter marked off for Ellie's broth warming tools that must avoid cross-contamination with other foods, and dirty dishes that must be handwashed, leaving us one approximately 18 inch section of counter space to work with for every thing else. Nice. Well I suppose I could stand in the living room and use all of that nice 'bar' space the builder created. What in the world for? Did I mention that 18 inches was next to the stove?

Counter tops are the lovely tile with massive eroding grout. This has to be scrubbed so often due to food particles and the issue of cross contamination that we usually just work on top of kitchen towels instead of the actual counter.

Our sink is too shallow to fit a large (broth making) stock pot, and washing it to get off (you guessed it) cross contamination is almost impossible. And the faucet itself is a laundry room plastic faucet that is turning green in the handles because the previous owners took the original faucet. Even a pull out handle would make the shallow sink so much easier to use to get things clean!

A few months ago I was standing in front of the stove top and felt a breeze. Tearing apart the fan vent that was covered in aluminum tape I discovered I could see outside. Lovely.

Like most modern kitchens ours has a fantastic built in microwave. Want it? Studies show microwaves deplete the nutrients in food and Ellie needs every single nutrient she can get. We now use the microwave very rarely, and are short on oven space. The bottom half of the wall unit is the oven. It fits one 4-5 pound chicken. I don't think I could get a real turkey in there if I wanted to. Doesn't anyone actually cook anymore? Someone get me a normal standing oven!

We have a dishwasher. It leaks on the floor and doesn't get the dishes clean. Is that standard? I mentioned the pile of dishes that must be handwashed. That is because dishwashers actually don't get things very clean and there is an issue of cross-contamination. As Ellie eats more and has a larger menu we will get to use the dishwasher less. I also have not had the time to find a dishwasher soap that is free of corn derivatives. I could make my own. Be right back. Need to put that on the to-do list.

We have a fancy five burner stove top. If you spill on the stove top it runs under the counter and cross contaminates all of the pots being stored in the cabinet space under the stove. It also has five burners, only one of which can get a pot of broth boiling in less than 45 minutes. These five burners also seem to be particularly small. Perhaps, again, it is because no one actually cooks anymore, but we can fit two pots for boiling Ellie's food, and her pot to warm broth before the stove top is full. That provides a challenge when trying to cook dinner for the rest of family.

Our kitchen is open to make a great room concept and has a large island in the middle. The previous owners had a leak that caused the entire island to have mold and mildew. I covered most of it up with stick-on tiles under the sink. The island has also been the home to a chronic ant problem, and at times has made me wish I owned a sledge hammer. At one point the hubby threatened the pest control guy to get it under control because he was afraid of what I would do. The ants came out of the cut in the foundation where the piping and drains are, and for the first several months we lived here we had the pest control guy spraying the island on a regular basis. This made me crazy, and I often wiped up the spray which was within reach of my kids which helped the ants out. We lived for several months without being able to use the island due to the spray and ants. I can only imagine the number of dead and rotting ants that are living in this hollow island now. Do you have a sledge hammer I can borrow?

While reflecting on all of these lovely complaints last week I thought COME the NAME of FPIES there has to be someone out there that can help me. There are a million of those shows that crash your house in the name of something ugly. How about function and sick babies?? Maybe we could add some FPIES awareness to the mix?? It took me two googles to find this link:

Looks promising! :) Want some pictures of my kitchen? Know of another link I could make use of? *sigh*. Well, the Vitamix calls!


  1. Ok, so I totally want to nominate you but I think I will need to collaborate with someone who lives in your of the requirements is that both the nominee and accomplice live in the same area. Who can you team me up with to get this going???


  3. If you look at the Nate Berkus website, there are TONS Of different categories! I thought the above one was a good one though!

  4. How did I miss this blog post? I am rolling!!! No offense, you do I cook formula beside you....and the funny thing is I was JUST thinking this same thing today- how when we moved here, I thought my kitchen was huge...and now I do not have tall enough counters (to avoid reaching hands) or enough space (to keep from cross contamination). But my kitchen was recently (like within 10yrs before we bought it) renovated so I think we differ a bit. I get the dishwasher thing completly....will I ever get to go a day without washing bottles? Sigh. Keep us posted on the kitchen reno contests- how awesome would that be?!!!


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