Must Haves for Newly Kosher Kitchen
Hi there. I'm getting married in August and my fiance wants to keep a kosher house. He doesn't cook much, so it doesn't represent much of a transition for him. I cook a lot, however, and the prospect is daunting to me. Happily, we're probably about to be given a lot of kitchen stuff in the immediate future...
In any case, I'm trying to figure out what I should be looking for, in order to keep an organized and efficient kitchen-space, while at the same time respecting the needs of kashrut. I also want to be considerate in our registry and not look like we're out of control registry maniacs.
So, if you were building a kitchen arsenal from scratch, given these parameters, what would you not want to live without?
First you have to ask yourself what you cook- if you only have meat once in a while, you'll need fewer meat supplies. If you have meat for dinner every night, you'll want to have better knives and supplies for meat. The general rule is 2 of everything: dishes, utensils, knives, bowls, pots, pans. Make sure your meat vs. dairy items look different enough so that they are easily distinguishible (eg red bowls for meat, blue for dairy). For small appliances such as mixers and blenders, my advice would be to register for one of each and decide which to use it for, then fill in later as needed. For example, I have a kitchenaid stand mixer for meat/pareve since that's where I make my more "gourmet" meals, and a cheap hand mixer I use for dairy.
Some of this also appeared on another short thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/590924
Finally, you'll probably get more traffic and good answers from folks on the Kosher Board.
Our Cuisinart has managed to stay pareve for 20+ years (hummus, salsa, choping vegetables), and we get by with just a blender for dairy (shakes, smoothies, pesto, etc.). For pots and pans, the bulk of what we have is for meat (full complement of saucepans, saute pans, grill pans, stockpots). For dairy, we have a few different sizes of saucepans, a good large saute pan, an omelet pan and a large nonstick rectangular griddle that fits over two burners for pancakes, large batches of hash browns or other breakfast-y stuff.
Much depends on your cooking style and how you approach cooking in general. Is cooking for you primarily a chore (even if you also enjoy it) or a passion? Do you expect to cook a lot of both dairy and meat? For how many do you intend to cook for (I know people who have over 15 guest every Shabbos and Yom Tov)? Personally, I like to keep as much as practical parve. (As a side note, parve food cooked in a clean dairy or meat pot will remain parve except in terms of what utensils you can use and what food you can eat with it. Ask your rabbi for details.)
Some items tend to lend themselves one way or another. A large stock pot will probably be only meat, while non-stick will only be dairy (and maybe parve).
Lastly, let's not forget additional set of sets for Passover. For Passover, though, I would go light, unless you'll be hosting.