I am nearly finished changing my kitchen. Not the tile, not the flooring, nope, not a new fridge or stove. Don't I wish! I mean what I cook with and store my food in. I changed all of it. Why? Well, I receive an email from a woman named Karen Brimeyer http://www.karenbrimeyer.org/ who has studied Leaky Gut Syndrome and puts out a cure to follow. Now, not being significantly trained in Biology, I am not sure what that exactly means. I have read contradictory articles stating that it is an impossibility to have a leaky gut. I do believe our guts can become ill and cause our bodies lots and lots of trouble, so, I read her information, and take what means something to me and put it into practice.
One of Karen's emails suggested that kitchens can become toxic and the very items we use to cook on and store food in can contribute to illness in our guts and in our bodies. So I read this and I get really angry at first. I start rationalizing it out. First I can't eat wheat because I have Celiac Disease, then you take away anything with gluten, then it's all grains, then nuts are bad, then this then that, NOW I have to get rid of all my pots and pans and plastic containers because THEY are causing illness in my gut. My first response was two words I won't post here because I want to keep my blog appealing to all. But I was VERY ANGRY. But if you think about it, it does make a lot of sense.
I went on with life and suddenly I found myself thinking about it and more and more. I was still angry but that wise old voice in my head that tells me the right thing to do kept working on this problem.
Wayne and I had always been looking for an old cast iron pan anyway, so I put out a post on Freecycle. Wanted: Cast Iron Cookware...for cooking, not decoration (you have to be careful because people paint them to hang on their walls.) I got two responses and from those responses I received 7 different sized cast iron frying pans from tiny to large. I brought them home and Wayne went to work learning how to scrub them up and re-season them. It was a lot of work but so very worth it. I know it is hard to believe, but the food tastes so much better cooked in cast iron. And it isn't difficult to keep them clean, and they are just as non-stick as teflon if you use them properly. Having them to cook in cuts down on reheating in the microwave too.
Next, we needed something to boil water in, etc. But wait a minute, I have always had Corning Ware from my grand mother. All through living in Manhattan in my tiny apartment, I had several Corning Ware casserole dishes. They are great because you can put them in the oven, microwave, freezer, and use them to store food in the fridge. They save space because they eliminate having to have plastic to store in as well as having a whole set of pots and pans.
So I went to PA and went to my favorite junk store and purchased more of it. I got three glass baking pans of different sizes, pyrex of course, more Corning Ware too. Corning Ware came up with a rubberized lid at some point and these can be purchased on Ebay or probably on the Corning Ware site. I also found some at my local junk store. This way, you can take your Corning Ware with you for lunch. It is so easy, especially in an insulated lunch bag. I even take it over to get my Chilli on Wednesdays. The serving lady always says how nice it is to see me using my reusable containers, and glass ones at that.
I did keep a couple of plastic containers to organize, and some plastic things for my two year old that I know don't have yucky chemicals in them. But I have a rule...NO PLASTIC IN THE DISHWASHER. I also saved lots of jars and covers for food storage. Those can't go in the freezer but they are great for kid snacks and fridge storage.
Once I had all my new items, and cleared out the clutter, I decided to GET ORGANIZED. I realized that the plastic in my cabinet was always a disaster. Open the door and it was a sea of plastic and jars. We could never find anything in there and it was a source of frustration always. I got some of those wire racks, a whole set for like 12 bucks or something, and made different levels and put jar lids in a large plastic container so I always can grab a lid. All of my Corning Ware lids and fry pan covers are in stackable lid holders and it is glorious.
Mind you, I did all of this for less than $30-$50.
Best of all, I got rid of our drip coffee makers and have an old Corning Ware stove percolator (That we found at the Good Will) and a small Farberware electric percolator that we got from Freecycle. My coffee tastes better than ever and I am happy to know that it hasn't been processed through plastic.
Washing dishes is easier than ever. I can put most everything in the dishwasher or hand wash and dry and put away quickly. Have you ever noticed that plastic is difficult to clean and takes days to air dry. See ya, plastic storage! Good riddance!
Another benefit of cast iron is, that it weighs so much you are strengthening your arms as you cook with it!
I LOVE MY NEW KITCHEN and the food tastes better than ever.