Kosher in a non-Kosher home.. can it be done?
My good friend and her husband keep kosher (they are orthadox Jewish) and they have been so kind to have us over for Shabbos dinner on multiple occasions for large elaborate meals. I am just dying to have my own dinner party, but I know accomodating them will be a challenge...
Has anyone ever gone to this trouble? Other than ordering in.. which is not what I want to do as it really just takes the whole fun out of a dinner party.. how could I do this...
would you buy cheap pots/pans for the evening and just "start fresh".. (and obviously cook kosher products)..
Is there any way to use a BBQ and make it kosher?
what would you do if you were in this position. I am ready for a culinary challenge.
FYI: Walmart sells disposable BBQs. It's basically a disposable roasting pan filled with charcoal and topped off with a grill and it has a frame to hold it up. We use them for traveling. They cost less than $10 and it's MUCH easier than trying to make a non-kosher BBQ kosher.
Aww Berel, where's your spirit of adventure? Not every bite of food you put in your mouth has to be a four star meal! Making potatoes and hot dogs on an open fire out in the desert or a camp ground is fun! The OP was trying to make a Shabbat meal for some friends and some of us are suggesting that what would be more fun is a cookout.
A couple of times we have prepared a meal for some very strict friends. We have grilled (we have a Weber and bought a new grill top). Our friend brought his grill utensils. We served bread and salad and fruit. We ate off paper. I bought a new chopping board and a couple of plastic serving bowls. Our friends supervised everything but it was just like cooking a meal together with friends. I bought new condiments and some dips etc. We keep kosher so I knew what to buy and what would be acceptable. Nonetheless the phone rang a lot beforehand. We did this on Sunday. (I don't think you are suggesting doing a shabbes meal, and I wouldn't recommend trying this, unless you do it at their house.)
We had a great time with our friends, and they were so grateful to be able to eat "out".
Another option that your friends might appreciate greatly - take them out to dinner at a kosher restaurant. Be aware that they are expensive.
By the way, do ask your friends about making a BBQ kosher ("kashering" it). If we'd had a gas grill our friends would have been totally fine with it being turned up to it's highest temp for the requisite time. Be careful though, the dials have been known to melt!
Also, if you do end up doing something, do not hesitate to call with questions - however ridiculous they seem. Your friends won't mind, and would far rather you call than have to deal with a potentially embarassing experience during the meal.
You will have to go to the couple in question and ask them what they comfortable with.
If you want to be SUPER gracious about this, you could start by saying "I want to ask you a question, and it's really ok to say no".
If it were me, I would be so happy to have the food ordered in and have the chance to "break bread" with friends rather than be stressed out about kashrut not being followed properly.
Hungry Abby: where are you located?
Thanks for your tips everyone.. this is probably going to be less easy than I hoped. I didn't really consider how uncomfortable or anxious it might make my friends...
I'm in Toronto, Canada... however, we were hoping to plan something at the cottage in the Muskoka when the weather warmed just a bit.. and there aren't any kosher delivery restaurants that I know of up there.. though I could be wrong.
I'm with Vallevin. If you were my friend, I'd just want to spend time with you. And his advice is good.
You really could do this with a cooler chest, a cheap barbecue and a little good will.
Breakfast, cold cereal with fresh fruit.
Lunches, tuna salad or cheese sandwiches fresh salad, fresh fruit.
Dinner, cheap new grill. Kosher sausages or burgers imported from Toronto in a cooler chest.
Bring things like bread, cookies, tuna, cheese and meat from Toronto. Focus on fresh fruit, nice wine or good beer - bring the wine from Toronto.
I know that this works because I have done this weekend at the non-kosher country homes of good friends.
And, as Vallevin said, run everything past your friends. Even if they do not accept, they will find your offer wonderful, delightful and generous. if they come, relax and enjoy, don't let foolish regret that you cannot do your finest performance cooking for them spoil the visit. And remember that they are coming because they enjoy your company. Food, they could get at a kosher restaurant Toronto.
Not so much in Muskoka, unfortunately. During the summer there are several Jewish summer camps with kosher kitchens in the area but I wouldn't try entertaining with that food :) The best thing you can do is pick up some food at Sobey's 441 Clark Avenue, Thornhill on your way up North. That's what we do when we rent a cottage up there. They have a huge selection of kosher prepared foods, and a high standard of kashruth with a Rabbi on staff who oversees their supervision. He is very helpful and can help you choose what to purchase and teach you how to heat and serve it.
I know from my own experience that it depends on the people you are dealing with. I keep a kosher home, but for some friends of mine I am not kosher enough. I know some people that if you buy new pots, knives etc, that will be good enough, but it is expensive to start buying all the stuff.
I like Quinne's suggestion of buying all the groceries and cooking for them. However, they may not like it, if they keep strictly kosher and have to get ready for shabbos. If they are good friends, ask them what would be best for them. If not, bring something in and use paper plates etc., This way they wouldn't be bothered with messing up their house. I know your intentions are well intended, but they may find it burdensome to have some cooking for shabbos. Good luck, but ask them.
I have been in the position your friends are in, and it is incredibly awkward. The better-intentioned everyone is, and the closer the friendship, the greater the awkwardness.
The "easy" solution is to purchase food and serve it cold. Or get the meal form a caterer, but you have probably considerd this.
The solution you propose, cooking a kosher meal in your home, can be done, but you should not underestimate the difficulties. Everything that is heated or cooked must be in new or disposable vessels. This would involve purchasing new everything form saucepans to spatulas - really not practical. Or you would have to dream up a menu that can be cooked sealed in a double layer of aluminum foil. Hard to do. And when purchasing food you have to be careful not only to purchase, for example, kosher certified spices, but to make certain that they have the specific certification acceptable to your friends.
If you, entirely innocently and titally by by accident do something such as thoughtlessly grabbing your usual spatula to remove some food for the aluminum foil baking pan - the entire dish becomes non-kosher. I don't know who would feel worse standing in the kitchen when something like this happened, you or your friends. but it would be a horrible moment. And stuff like this happens.
I love the solution Quine has come up with, though that may not work for everyone.
Have you thought of finding events that you can share with your friends with less awkwardness, like attending summer outdoor concerts with simple picnics that you can share? Or having them over to do something larky, like buying a cheap little charcoal grill and grilling some kosher meat on it to serve with salad and bread from a kosher bakery and good wine?
I have good friends who I entertain regularly, and they reciprocate in other ways. One has access to an extraordinary insider discount and takes me on shopping sprees where I get to use her discount. Another supplies me with imported European kosher goodies.
I hate to be discouraging, but if your friends are strict not only about ingredients, but about the vessels in which they are prepared, entertaining them with a dinner party will be really difficult, so you may want to consider doing an end run around the problem.
What a nice thing for you to offer to do! It is not easy. If I were you, the first thing I would do is ask your friends if they would be OK with you cooking for them in your kitchen or in your home. I think they would be incredibly appreciative of your offer, but it is possible that they may say no. There are many laws about the the types of food that can and cannot be eaten, but there are also issues pertaining to how the food preparation is supervised and by whom.
i do not keep kosher, nor am I even Jewish but I also had great friends who kept Kosher. I wanted to cook for them, as you said meals at their house were great! Company that you love is the best spice.
So I took it as a learning experience, I asked to learn to cook for them, from them at their home!
It was fantastic! It created such great times! We laughed alot, we shared alot, just as cooking with and for friends should do. Finally I did my meal, I was SO nervous!
No greater bond than sharing food, try that approach.