Registering for Kosher and Passover Kitchen Items
If you are planning to have a kosher kitchen or a kosher for Passover kitchen during the holiday of Passover, these will be important considerations to keep in mind as you and your fiancé register for dishes and kitchenware.
Though fish are animals, they are considered pareve — something that is neither meat nor dairy. Thus fish can be cooked in either a meat or dairy pot and eaten with either type of utensils and dishes.
Kosher Kitchen Considerations
In a kosher kitchen, kosher ingredients are used for cooking. In addition, any foods that contain products that come from an animal (other than milk or fish) are not cooked or mixed with dairy products.
Many Jewish people keep a kosher kitchen, though not all do so at the same level of care and strictness. Some might buy kosher meat but may not necessarily check their other food products to be sure they were produced under kosher supervision. Others might not buy kosher meat but will take care to separate milk and meat foods in their kitchen.
Whatever your current level of kashrut observance, you will want to think about your registry in light of this so that you register for the proper amount of items you will require and won't have to buy them later.
The Bible dictates that one should not cook a baby goat in its mother's milk. Though this verse refers only to not cooking meat and milk together, the Talmud and Judaism's oral tradition make clear that the separation of meat and dairy means that the two cannot be cooked in the same pots — even at different times — or eaten with the same utensils.
When you register for separate meat and dairy dishes and utensils, be sure that the patterns are different enough to avoid confusion and mix-ups. Though for most utensils there is a fairly easy process by which to remedy any mixups and re-kosher the item, for some utensils undoing kosher problems can be a bit more difficult.
Couples that celebrate the Shabbat each week usually register for a set of Shabbat dishes and silverware that is fancier than their everyday set. You may also want to consider registering for other accoutrements to honor the occasion. A tablecloth and a vase for fresh flowers are a nice touch.
Some things in a kosher kitchen can be used for both meat and dairy; for instance, drinking glasses are usually used for both meat and dairy, and a clean microwave oven can be used to heat both covered meat and covered dairy foods — though not at the same time. Most kosher kitchens have one stove and oven that are used for both meat and dairy with a few cautious parameters. (For more detailed books and websites on this subject, see Appendix D or speak to a local rabbi.)
Small Appliances for Your Kosher Kitchen
Toaster ovens in most kosher kitchens, due to their small size, are usually designated either meat or dairy. If you have a double sink you can designate one side for meat and one for dairy; if you have only one sink, usually a rack or insert of some kind is used for meat and a separate one for dairy. Bread machines are usually designated pareve and no milk products are used in them so the bread may be eaten with meat or dairy. Often two dish racks are used, one for meat and one for dairy, as well as separate sets of knives.
Many Judaica stores also sell stick-on labels that read “meat” and “dairy.” Labeling confusing utensils or drawers and cabinets with these can save you from misplacing your utensils and using them for the wrong foods. Having a carefully labeled kosher kitchen will also prevent relatives and friends who are cooking in your kitchen from becoming too confused.
Many people use disposable paper plates and utensils on Passover for either meat or dairy. That way they need only buy one set of dishes for Passover, though they will need some separate pots and pans for meat Passover cooking and dairy Passover cooking. It is important to remember, of course, that while Passover is an auspicious holiday it only lasts for one week.
The Bible (Exodus 12) commands that on the holiday of Passover no chometz (leavened bread or grain product) should be eaten or owned by a Jewish person. Just as with the general laws of kosher, this means you must refrain from eating bread or other risen grain products. In addition, the dishes or vessels you used to cook these products must not be used to cook Passover food.
If your kitchen will be generally kosher the rest of the year and strictly kosher during Passover, you will require a second two sets of dishes and utensils for Passover. With a bit of pre-holiday cleaning and effort, though, most kitchen appliances can be made kosher for the Passover holiday.
Be sure to register for Passover dishes that will store easily since fifty-one weeks a year they will be in your basement, garage, or storage closet. In addition, think through how much pre-Passover work you will be willing to do. With minimal effort, silverware you use the rest of the year can be made kosher for Passover each year in the days prior to the holiday.