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It’s everywhere, absolutely blinking everywhere! Virtually everything you pick up in a supermarket that has been through any kind of process could be contaminated with gluten. Not even the butchery section is safe – I was in our local store the other day and picked up a packet of pork tenderloin fillet and saw those telltale bright orange crumbs that match the ones on the breaded steaks just a few packets along on the shelf. You might not think that’s much but, to someone with a serious gluten issue, a few crumbs of contamination can result in an agonising few days! Mince based preparations are probably one of the highest risk meat products for gluten contamination, unless you have a very trusty butcher, and no mince knocks a lot of family favourites off the menu.

One thing I’ve acquired which has made life a little easier is an old fashioned meat grinder – I bet it’s a good while since you’ve seen one of these!

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I say acquired, I actually purloined it from my mother who hadn’t used it in eons… I can remember using it as a child but it had lived in the back of a cupboard for a very long time indeed. For us it means that mince based meals are once again on the menu. By making our own, we control exactly what goes in it and it has also gone down very well with my daughter who cannot abide any scraps of gristle.

Apparently lots of food processors have a mincing attachments these days but I rather enjoy the whole manual process and, more importantly, I don’t own a food processor! My daughter also loves to help with making the mince; she sees exactly what goes into it, she can crank the handle and add the herbs, make her own patties and meatballs etc. I truly love the fact that she knows where her food comes from and, in my experience, getting children involved in making a meal is a simple recipe for reducing fussiness. So if you see an old fashioned mincer in a second-hand market or garage sale don’t dismiss it as another piece of junk, give it a try – it does more than just make mince!

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