Giving all that stuff up was a little difficult, but also strangely cleansing. I had to pare my kitchen down to a much meaner machine. Having to accommodate not one can-opener, but two- and who knows, possibly three had me reconsidering many of my kitchen appliances. Those baby corn holders- they occupy expensive real estate in the tiny kosher kitchen. Retooling my kitchen gave me the opportunity to pare down to the essentials- and get some new things I have wanted for awhile, too. I decided to reward myself with some Le Crueset cookware when the time came- high quality ceramic coated casseroles and such. Knowing I was going to get these made parting with the older stuff much easier.
I gave it a lot of my cookware to my cleaning lady and to a close non-Jewish friend. I gave the big box of food to my friend. Shortly after taking the box of food, she called me wanting directions on how to use my squid sauce. She also wanted to know what Hoisin sauce was and what to do with it... SIGH. "It's like a strong, plum-based barbecue sauce" I told her, my mouth watering. Then I wrote down "Get Kosher Hoisin sauce ASAP" on a notepad. I have since acquired my Kosher Hoisin sauce, and made peace with there being no more squid sauce in our lives. I can imagine enhancing Worcestershire with more anchovies might work just as well anyway.
The cleaning lady and non-Jewish friend would come over and I would give stuff to them. They would eye me suspiciously, or perhaps it was concern. They would ask questions about keeping kosher. I am not qualified to answer. It made me nervous. I would start to answer something cautiously, offering a million disclaimers. Or it would be something straightforward, and I would answer emphatically, and feeling for a moment I did know something! And then a simple follow-up question would unravel me and send me flying to get more information.
I found my knowledge of the ins and outs of cud-chewing, fins, scales and cloven hooves to be lacking. When asked about anything deeper, I would stammer "There are probably many different opinions on this... um...so...Can I interest you in any of my non-stick muffin tins?"... It was a bit awkward. They watched me giving all this stuff up and not really understanding the rules of this new endeavor I seemed to have signed myself up for completely. I can imagine how it looks to them. "Where should this roasting pan go?" My cleaning lady might ask. "Hmmm... I'm not sure if I can to keep it... The office." She would kind of double blink and bring it upstairs.
But this was a good precursor to when I really outted myself and all the questions that would follow. But that is a post for another day.
I still am donating and giving things away, but these things are in our storage area and ready to go. A friend of a friend needed the toaster oven, and this made me really happy. Giving the stuff up wasn't as hard with the knowledge that the person getting it really wanted or needed it. It took the sting out. It helps me to think that the toaster oven is still making toast. Hey, I could even call to check on it or visit it if I really missed it. I imagine calling up my cleaning lady to see if I could come and visit my muffin tins. I can see this completing her understanding that I am perhaps, loco. Embracing her having that opinion and not fighting it - somehow that helps me, too.