April 23, 2007

Yes, No or Maybe- footnote

Picture me waking up in the middle of the night a couple of days after I kashered my kitchen. I am in a panic, running into the kitchen... checking for hechshered dish soap.

I think my online research was being processed in my sleep or something, but it only occured to me to check this *after* I kashered my kitchen (the process I haven't yet covered in my blog...we're still on "Yes, No and Maybe"...but it's coming)

Thankfully, both Cascade and Palmolive were hechschered. I mention this here, because I think it should have been part of my "Yes, No and Maybe" process, and not my "Omygoodness... Omygoodness... Did I... Did I?" process.

Can you imagine kashering your entire kitchen only to discover you were soaking your dishes in soap made from pig intestines?

Important Note Regarding "Yes, No or Maybe - Part 2"

This part took awhile. Eventually, one has to go through everything- even the gadgets in storage. Some things force you to think about how much you really use them. "I just can't wait to kasher this fondue pot I haven't used in 3 years! It will be so much fun to make a Miller Cheese Fondue! Weeeeeeeeeeee!"

Also, a little fog of chaos rolled in sometime during this process. I hadn't gotten all the definitive answers to what could stay or go, and I hadn''t given away my perfectly functional things that were on the balcony. I couldn't use any replacements, because I couldn't use them in my still non-kosher kitchen. (I had already started buying replacements for a few things I knew I would need. I stored them, unopened, on the floor in my office upstairs.)

So imagine me with a boiling pot of speghetti. I go to reach for a plastic collander. My good , slightly used, "must-go" one is one on my balcony. In the case of the collander, something I use frequently, I also have a perfectly good and new one, unopened, upstairs- with a receipt in the bag (you know, just in case I came to my senses). So I run out to the balcony to grab the collander from the Rubbermaid container, use it, wash it, and bring it right back to the balcony. I couldn't use the new one upstairs it in my still unkosher kitchen, but I also still needed to drain the pasta. Imagine my husband watching all of this. (You don't know him, but if you did, it would really help paint a picture).

Or picture me using some beloved item- some little, shiny, indulgent William Sonoma tool that squatted with it's questionable status on the upstairs craft table. Let's make it some kind of special apple corer and slicer. Imagine me running upstairs to use it, wash it and return it. Now imagine me wondering: "Is this time with the apple slicer our last?" Then I would wonder how things could have been different- had I only not put the little guy in the dishwasher...
(Don't worry- this story has a happy ending- it was stainless! All we needed was something similar to a good boiling.)

If you are kashering your home and reach this state, and your spouse was onboard up to this point, he or she will probably jump ship now. Actually, my husband was supportive, and limited himself to silent smirking for the wackier moments.

Also, at this point, I was up late at night visiting various stored appliances I use and love, but not sure if I could keep. WARNING: If you find yourself talking to or stroking a KitchenAid mixer, please take a break! You are going mad, moving dishes around and not sleeping. There may be a watershed moment- for me, I fell down my spiral staircase at 1 AM and broke my toe and bruised the entire right half of my body. I probably would have done this anyway, but I was letting the process stress me out.

Around this time, I called my sister whining: "They are not making this fun for me!" It became an inside joke and a humorous mantra for me.

Yes, No or Maybe - Part 2

Once we had a grip on the food (Yes, No or Maybe - Part 1), it was time for Part 2 of "Yes, No or Maybe". It was time to go through every dish, pot, pan, piece of Tupperware, utensil, every odd peeler, slicer and dicer, the Ginsu knives, the "Bassomatic"- everything.

If you have a Huge Ton of Stuff, I suggest focusing your efforts on the kitchen, getting everything in the kitchen out, and hitting appliances that are stored elsewhere later.

I got out a huge Rubbermaid container. I put all my tupperware and plastic cooking utensils in there. Actually, I ended up putting ALL plastic utensils, but this was a mistake- only the ones that were involved in heat or put through a dishwasher (or directly touched treyfe) had to go for sure. But I decided to play it safe and replace whatever seemed remotely questionable.

I left the metal cooking utensils for cooking in the kitchen and some Ziploc bags for storage, paper plates and plastic utensils, disposable cooking trays. The big Rubbermaid went out on the balcony.

Then I started moving everything to the dining room table.

I made three sections.

On the right were things I knew I could kasher (glass and stainless steel cookery that didn't have a non-stick or any kind of special finish).

I put thing I knew had to go, but that were nicer than plastic Tupperware- things I needed to give away- on the far left (ceramics, earthenware, wooden spoons that have stirred hot stuff, etc). My sister kindly pointed out that my favorite mugs or bowls could still be kept and used to hold non-food items. I put things that I wasn't sure of, or that there might be some kind of loophole for in the middle of the table.

But before I finished this process, I ran out of space on my dining room table. I started relocating the three groups to different places. It helped to have the places apart from each other. I moved anything that had to go into another huge Rubbermaid on the balcony. Some of the plastic utensils and Tupperware spent some time as toys for my toddler. These functioned as new toys that entertained him while I focused on this project. Since our kitchen is typically off limits to him (we have a gate) it was particularly exciting for him to get access to all this cool "off-limits" stuff! He even gave me an "are you sure?" look on a few items.

I moved things that I wasn't sure about on a craft table I cleaned off upstairs. There were a couple of things that I wanted to know about sooner rather than later, and they sat at the top of the pile. I left all the things I knew I could kasher on the dining room table, with the glass in the back where my son can't reach.

At this point, things started to get a little frenzied. Laundry was starting to pile up. My baby learned how to walk at some point. Ok, I am exaggerating, but he would periodically come over and nibble on me to get my attention. It was time to take a break. But at least this very important process had started. Once you have everything major out of your kitchen, and every thing you ABSOLUTELY need ready to be kashered, and a list of the things you MUST replace, you will be ready to proceed. But don't be making lots of optional social engagements before then.