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Food plays a large part in Jewish life and the life cycle. A kosher kitchen is one that complies with the Jewish Dietary Law. These laws are taken from Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 and then have been amplified on through the ages by the rabbis. Kosher means "fit".

A kosher kitchen will have two complete sets of crockery, cutlery, pots, pans, utensils and cloths stored in separate cupboards. Indeed, this seems eminently sensible on a purely hygienic basis - look at the colour coded chopping boards and knives many shops sell so as to avoid cross contamination by bacteria.

In an orthodox kitchen there will be separate working areas, if this cannot be achieved in small kitchens, use different surface protectors. Two sinks and drainers or again as dictated in small areas two separate washing up bowls, drainers and sponges, and of course separate tea towels. Colour coding is an advantage.

There area different thoughts about dishwashers. When I first got married dishwashers are neutral and meat or milk dishes could be washed on separate cycles scalding with a rinse in between. Now many homes have separate ones which is fine if you have the room. I leave this up to you. I consider my electric kettle and the urn as neutral.

Cooking is not allowed on the Sabbath, which commences at nightfall on Friday evening. Hence the use of slow long cooking to enable a hot meal for Sabbath lunch and having an electric slow cooker is a wonderful thing for any day when you want to prepare before you go to work or the night before.

A Few Customs

Koshering meat
We kosher meat and fowl to remove the blood. Nowadays, meat tends to come ready koshered and often pre-packed but if you ever need to do it you will need a bowl and a rack kept exclusively for this purpose.

Rinse the meat and then soak covered in water for half an hour then drain. Place on the rack and salt thoroughly - fowl should be salted in the cavity as well and left to balance over the bowl to drain for an hour. Rinse the meat/fowl three times in clean running water.

Liver is koshered over an open flame or grill. .

Times Between Meat and Milk

Now this is where tradition comes in. It is customary to have a time break between eating meat and milk. Some East European Jews wait as long as 6 hours, German Jews generally wait 3 hours and Dutch Jews wait only 1 hour. Meat can be eaten within ½ hour of dairy except when one has eaten hard cheese when the timings become the same as the "meat" ones. We are a confusing lot so follow your family tradition and let's start cooking and eating.

Introduction to Kosher Cookery for Coeliacs