Kosher kitchens (also known as Orthodox kitchens) are very important to the Jewish community. Keeping a kosher kitchen is not as difficult as one would think. Many people, not of the Jewish faith, feel that is is a difficult thing to do. There are some rules that a person must follow in order to truly be “Kosher”, but it truly is not a difficult thing to do. It just requires a little bit more attention to detail.
One of the most important rules of the kosher kitchen is the separation of meat and dairy products. Storage, preparation and serving of these foods must all be kept separate. Also along with this, the utensils used in the preparation, the dishes used to prepare and serve the food with as well as eat from must all be kept separate. Many times they will be of a different color or otherwise easily distinguishable. As for the storage of the food goods, most people label the areas that each is stored (i.e. cabinets, shelves, drawers, etc.).
Idealy, the appliances used to cook the food should be kept separate as well. That is why, in many Orthodox kitchens, you will see 2 refrigerators, 2 ovens, 2 sinks and 2 dishwashers. Everything MUST be kept separate. This is very important…
Now, there are those that do not have two sets of everything. Maybe you can’t afford to have two of everything or maybe your home does not have the space to allow the use of two of everything. That’s ok, you just have to be much more diligent and attentive about keeping everything separated.
Not ALL Jewish people keep kosher 100% of the time. The 2000 National Jewish Population Survey (NJPS) reported that only about 21% of American Jews keep kosher in the home. They also reported that, of that 21%, a portion of them keep kosher at home, but ate non-kosher food outside of the home in one form or another. Jack Moline (rabbi/humorist) once noted in his book (Growing Up Jewish, 1987), “Everyone who keeps kosher will tell you that his version is the only correct version. Everyone else is either a fanatic or a heretic.”
If you are interested in koshering your kitchen, here is a “Step by step guide” to koshering your kitchen. If you have recently purchased a new home or have recently made the decision to go kosher and are interested in designing an Orthodox or Kosher kitchen for your home, you should seek out a kitchen designer and/or a contractor that understand the rules and can assist you in designing and laying out the appropriate space.