Monday, 26 October 2020

How to Design a Pinterest-Worthy Kosher Kitchen

While a Pinterest-Worthy Kosher Kitchen is the epitome of luxury living, search “kosher kitchen” on Pinterest and less than a handful of images will come up. Seriously, Pinterest!? I think it’s time to explore how to design kitchens that are kosher and well, “Pinterest-worthy!”

To make this most luxurious, you’ll need (at least): two sinks, two dishwashers, two stovetops, two ovens, two microwaves, two sets of dish ware, two sets of flatware … and one patient husband.

Now, let me make this very clear: To keep a perfectly kosher home, you absolutely do not need two sets of ovens, microwaves and dishwashers or many of the other luxury ideas present here (though you will need two sets of dishes, cutlery and pots!). Indeed, this is beyond the realm of feasibility in terms of space and finance for most of us. But when it comes to Pinterest, hey, a girl can dream. So let’s begin …

Meat & Dairy

Photo: Michael Duke for The Jewish Herald Voice

Photo: Michael Duke for The Jewish Herald Voice

Separating between meat and dairy areas is the most important consideration when designing your Pinterest-Worthy Kosher Kitchen. Here are some design ideas to consider:

Total Separation: Some choose to divide their meat and dairy areas into two separate completely disconnected zones. In fact, you can even have two kitchen islands for each section.

The Kitchen Island: If you incorporate only one kitchen island, it could separate your meat and dairy areas. In that case, you would designate the island counter to be used for either meat or dairy.

Counter Divider: A popular option is to install a divider made out of a piece of countertop material approximately 3 inches tall to separate two adjacent areas. While separating the meat and dairy areas, the divider will flow seamlessly with the design. Install the divider(s) on a kitchen island or anywhere it makes sense design-wise.

Differently Colored Counters: Consider choosing complementary, yet differently colored countertops to differentiate your kitchen’s meat and dairy areas. This can be a real show-stopper.

Pareve

You may want to incorporate an entire pareve section in your kitchen to prep and cook foods that are neither meat nor dairy to your heart’s content. Luxurious! But, start thinking in multiples of three, not two.

Ideally, challah should be baked in a pareve oven. Thus, you will want to consider incorporating a third oven into your design. If you’re obsessed with homemade challah, like I am, then in addition to a pareve oven, consider installing a baker’s counter at a lower height so that you can easily knead your dough.

Shabbat and Yom Tov

Ovens with a “Sabbath Mode” are common today, as are refrigerators. (By the way, you will not need two refrigerators for your kosher kitchen, but aim for a large one.)

It is preferable to have separate hot and cold faucet knobs on your sinks to avoid inadvertent use of hot water on Shabbat. Modern faucet designs are increasingly opting to market the one knob alternative, but you can still find some with separate knobs. Transitional and classic faucets styles offer a wider variety of faucets with two knobs.

Since we can cook on Yom Tov, I recommend installing a switch to turn off the electric ignition of your gas stovetops. This will allow you to use a pre-existing flame to then light the gas on Yom Tov. Make sure this convenient switch is inconspicuously installed with your under-cabinet light switches and outlets—and not on your gorgeous backsplash!

Kashering

Photo: Designmegillah.com

Photo: Designmegillah.com

Kashering is the process where boiling water (and/or fire) is used to restore the kosher status of countertops, appliances or utensils in your kitchen. Bear in mind that a material’s ability to be kashered in the event of a mixture of meat and dairy will be an important consideration when you’re selecting materials and appliances.

While there are numerous beautiful countertop options in the market, you will have to consider durability, as well as the material’s ability to be kashered. Marble is gorgeous, but may prove too delicate for a busy kosher kitchen. Quartzite is a similar and more resilient alternative. Some halachic experts hold that quartz is a good material for a kosher kitchen, while others prefer granite, as they consider it easier to kasher if needed. While stainless steel is the easiest material to kasher, it might not be as attractive an option in a residential project.

It is wise to select stainless sinks and dishwashers with stainless-steel interiors for your Pinterest-Worthy Kosher Kitchen, as those can be kashered if needed. In addition, separate the plumbing for the meat and dairy dishwashers. Try installing a backflow preventer in the drain line to avoid any cross-contamination of boiling water between the meat and dairy dishwashers.

Passover

You can design and build a separate Passover kitchen with its own sink, appliances, cabinet, kitchenware and counters. It’s truly a luxury, yet you’ll want to cover it throughout the year and reveal it only when you’re ready to cook Passover food. Cover the Passover kitchen in a way that flows with the space’s overall design. I had clients who commissioned artwork printed on removable panels. Throughout the year, the massive piece of gorgeous art concealed their Passover kitchen! Pinterest-worthy? Yes. Kosher? Indeed.

Art: Devorah Rolnik Raichman, Photo: JewishLatinPrincess.com

Art: Devorah Rolnik Raichman, Photo: JewishLatinPrincess.com

Alternatively, you can kasher your kitchen every year right before Passover—a time when kosher takes on a whole new meaning. In that case, be sure to choose materials and appliances that can be kashered for Passover when you’re designing your kitchen.

Immersion

You’ve designed and built your Pinterest-Worthy Kosher Kitchen and even stocked it with an array of fabulous china, pots, pans and kitchen gadgets. You are ready to cook and entertain, but there’s just one final step before you start. Depending on the material, utensils that come in direct contact with food require immersion in a mikvah. Before you empty your cabinets and schlep all their contents, though, consult with a rabbi as to what materials will need immersion and how to do it properly.

In general, feel free to consult with your local rabbi as you embark on this entire beautiful endeavor.

Designing a Pinterest-Worthy Kosher Kitchen is nuanced and delicate work, but it’s holy work. It will elevate you and your family, and all the guests who enter your home. May it be a source of revealed blessings for you and your loved ones for many years to come!

Source: https://www.chabad.org/theJewishWoman/article_cdo/aid/4065038/jewish/How-to-Design-a-Pinterest-Worthy-Kosher-Kitchen.htm

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