Thursday, December 8, 2016

Ask Chaviva Anything: In the Kitchen for Shabbat and Keeping Kosher

Are you ready for another installment of Ask Chaviva Anything? I know I am. I've gotten a ton of questions, and, guys, seriously, all these questions about when I'm returning "home" and when I'll be back in Israel, and what am I doing with my life by not being in Israel ... sigh. You're killing me. Home is where the heart is, and my heart (my husband and my kids) happen to be here in Denver, Colorado. I'm not moving back to Israel until I can afford it, until I don't have to live in the red, until I don't have to subject my children to the potential of hunger and debt collectors. That's when I'll go back to Israel. Unfortunately, that's not a close reality.

Anyway ... on to the questions!

How do you manage to make Shabbat with all your workload and two small children? Do you have some kind of routine up your sleeve? I need some tips and inspiration! Thank you!

This is a great question, and one I don't really have an answer to. It sort of just happens. In the old days, I'd cook on Thursday night after kids were in bed, but these days, I'm mostly exhausted by the time they both head to bed around 7 p.m. and/or I have work to do. So really what happens is that I set up my work station in the kitchen on Friday morning/early afternoon and multi-task like a crazy person. Laptop near the cutting board, oven preheating, and sometimes I'll have groceries delivered via Instacart just to save myself the trouble. This time of year, I rely a lot on crockpot dinners for Friday night and simple Saturday lunches like fish, rice, and vegetables. Ultimately the greatest struggle is when Shabbat hits, we don't always get everything done. So, for example, this past week I'd made a delicious side of salmon + rice with roasted cherry tomatoes and green beans, but we forgot to put the plata (hot plate) on. I managed to put the rice in a plastic bag, wrap the bag in foil, and set it on top of our hot water kettle to try and warm it up a bit so we weren't eating an entirely cold meal on Saturday for lunch. It sort of worked. My biggest "harrumph" this time of year is that I'm out of challah and haven't made any more. We can buy challah for my husband and son at the deli or grocery store, but for me, it's a production to make my gluten-free ha'motzi challah

So. It's basically chaos, but it always gets done. We also pick the kids up at the latest possible moment on Friday so we can get everything done. Oh! Also? I have a cleaning crew come every other Friday, so that keeps me sane. I had to stop trying to do it all, and although it's a hefty expense, it's one I had to deal with. 

Also? I spend a lot of time searching for easy recipes on the web and storing those for using on Shabbat. Honestly, I keep thinking of how much easier my life would be if we ate meat because I could easily make some chicken with rice in the oven. Cooking fish, tempeh, tofu, etc. is much more time consuming/needs much more delicate attention. 

What kitchen stuff would you not have in your kitchen because of not being able to make it kosher? For example, do you have a wooden cutting board and if you do how would you re-kosher it?

This is an interesting question, and one I haven't really even thought about. Truthfully, since nothing non-kosher comes into my kitchen, and because we are vegetarian at home, I don't have to worry about anything needing to be re-kashered. The one time of year that I do cook meat in my kitchen is Thanksgiving, and in this case, I just put my wooden cutting board away and bring out my meat cutting board. If this doesn't answer your question, let me know!