My son’s girlfriend, Liz, whose exquisite sensitivity to gluten I have previously discussed, has to be very careful whenever she eats outside the home. One misstep and she has to contend with weeks of joint and abdominal pain, the joint pain severe enough to make even walking difficult.
My son and Liz ate at a breakfast restaurant in suburban Cleveland called Yours Truly, where Liz had the oddly-named “Notso Omelette,” an omelette filled with cottage fries. While the restaurant maintains a gluten-free menu, they explained to Liz that they do not work to prevent cross-contamination (and so are really not gluten-free, a very common mistake made by restaurants—the rule, rather than the exception). Liz spoke with the waitress and she said that they would clean the cooktop where her meal was going to be prepared to reduce cross-contamination. The cross-contamination issue is especially likely with the cottage fries.
Well, this time it worked, with the negative gluten result on the Nima device shown above. Likewise, Liz enjoyed her breakfast without her (near-immediate) typical gluten re-exposure response.
It can be done. Unfortunately, it does not necessarily mean that, if a contaminated cooking surface or utensils are cleaned they become safe every time, but it at least can be done. And, judging by the exquisite sensitivity of one person with celiac disease, a meal can be enjoyed without paying for it with weeks of disrupted health. The key in this instance was the Nima device that reassured her that the restaurant’s efforts had likely reduced/eliminated cross-contaminating gluten residues to safe quantities.