Inside a Kosher Kitchen

For the Ben-Gideon family there is an art and science to keeping a kosher kitchen so they must figure out the best way to organize their kitchen to accommodate the laws of kashrut, the dietary regulations that observant Jews follow the world over. At their core, these ancient laws are fairly simple: meat and dairy may not be mixed at any time; meat must come from herbivorous fowl or from an animal that has cloven hooves and chews its cud, and it must be slaughtered and prepared properly; and fish may be eaten only if it has both fins and scales. In practice, however, these rules present some interesting challenges, because the plates, utensils, and cooking implements used for meat and dairy foods must be kept separate to prevent any transfer (even microscopic) of one kind of food to the other.Josh Wand
Rebecca and her husband, Joshua Ben-Gideon are both rabbis and therefore often have guests for holiday meals, so a large dining room is essential.Josh Wand
Josh Wand
Josh Wand
Josh Wand
The room's built-in shelving and sideboard give the Ben-Gideon's room to store the dishes that do not fit in the kitchen, like their serving bowls.Josh Wand
Josh Wand
Rebecca Ben-Gideon makes challah, a traditional Jewish bread, every Friday in preparation for the Sabbath.Josh Ward
Working at the counter of her bright, airy kitchen, she started with a ball of spongy dough that had been rising on her kitchen counter all morning and divided it into six long strands, which she quickly and expertly wove together to form an intricate loaf.Josh Wand
The challah is ready for the oven.Josh Wand
Josh Wand
Josh Wand
Josh Wand
On the stovetop, pans hold various elements of the dish kasha varnishkas, a family favorite.Josh Wand
The Ben-Gideon's children love to help cook at the kitchen's island.Josh Wand
The kitchen of the Ben-Gideons' new home had not been designed with kosher cooking in mind, and they knew that they would not be able to remodel it right away, but its generous size appealed to them because they often have relatives (and their three children) helping them cook. "The most important thing was to find a house that would work for our family," Joshua explained to me. "We could have figured out how to work with almost any kitchen."Josh Wand
Josh Wand
As in many Jewish homes, the Ben-Gideon's serve multiple meat dishes at holiday meals. To accommodate that, Joshua purchased an outdoor smoker so that he can smoke brisket while he has a turkey roasting in th oven.Josh Wand
Josh Ward
Josh Ward
The Ben-Gideon's have a number of of tableware pieces that are used only for certain holidays or ceremonies, including these silver cups, which are used for saying kiddush, the traditional blessing of wine.Josh Ward
Here is one of the sets of dishes used to serve only dairy meals. They have a separate set of white dishes to serve the meat meals.Josh Ward
Josh Ward