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Saturday, November 11, 2006

What is a Kosher Kitchen? (Part 1)

In the next few posts (off and on) I am going to try and explain the rudimentary basics of a Kosher kitchen and what limitations there are within it. This is not going to be a rabbinic discourse or Kashrut or keeping Kosher. This is to explain to the people who are submitting just what a kosher kitchen is and what rules are followed within (perhaps helping you adjust your submissions accordingly) As I have already said, and is quite obvious, "Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen" does not expect you to be kosher or Jewish. However, in keeping with the original idea of single parenting I am trying to keep the dishes here within the framework of what I and tens of thousands of others would make, bake, cook and fry as well. I also want to introduce all the readers to some real "Jewish/kosher" dishes such as the Sabbath Cholent (oh boy wait till you get a hold of that dish!)

Since "Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen" was originally conceived as a book about Kosher recipes and kosher food a few explanations are in order. By no means do I intend to pronounce anything Kosher or not-Kosher, nor is it the purpose to explain the reasoning of the laws that apply to a Kosher household. However, below (and in the next posts - which will be labeled and categorized accordingly) are a few guidelines in understanding the basic kosher kitchen.


1. Separation of Meat & Milk

Strictly kosher people do not eat any meat and milk products together. There is a total complete separation between the "meat" and the "milk (dairy)" products. Thus Kosher kitchens totally separate all milk and meat products and utensils. There is a set of pots, dishes and silverware for milk, and another set for meat. (Yes, it can get expensive and grueling.) Milk dishes are not used for meat meals and visa-versa. Some also have separate glasses for each. To make things even worse.

The word "parve" is Yiddish for something that is basically non-generic. In the kitchen this means something that is neither meat or dairy. Such as: Veggie soups, salads etc. etc. I am sure you can get the picture. So many people maintain a set of pots (that are used in ovens) for Parve dishes. This is due to further edicts within Kosher laws, that say (and the following is a generalization) that anything cooked in a meat pot even if it is NOT with meat, becomes basically in the realm of "having a taste (not literal) of meat" and thus is considered meat. There are exceptions and work-around to this, but as you can see, the kitchen is a fairly strict place where rules are followed in a Kosher home.

Meat and milk products are not eaten together nor are they cooked together. Therefore you will not find a recipe here, that calls for using butter and roast beef together. Indeed, strictly kosher families wait a few hours after eating meat before they will eat any milk products. (Some wait one hour, some 3 others 6 - depending on their customs). So if you are looking for a Pizza and meat recipe, take my pizza recipe and do with it what you will.

Remember one thing though - The term "Kosher Style Food" holds absolutely NO MEANING for kosher people. We will discuss this later in a future posting.

There are many great Internet sites that explain Kosher and the laws around it. I am not into endorsing sites so please remember the following list is just a pick and choose based upon a Google search - nothing more.

  1. Judaism 101
  2. How To Keep Kosher
  3. Keeping Kosher
  4. Wikipedia



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Paula said...

Awesome job Ted. Sometimes the best memories are born in the kitchen. I will need to show this site to my culinary challenged sister. Her first and last attempt at cooking was a marinara sauce. I neglected to inform her of the difference between a clove of garlic and a bulb. Needless to say her 2 cloves overpowered her sauce and I believe she spent some time alone following that dinner.