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Ask the rabbi Halacha Gentile Cooking, Wine and Milk

How to make a kosher meal

Question
At my work, a rabbi was recently hired in the religious services department. I was wanting to have him over to hang out to make him feel welcomed but, having been a chef I love to cook for friends and can typically accommodate religious dietary needs but, this is a whole different ballgame :). In a non-kosher kitchen what could I make (or have him help make) other than having a kosher beer and bottled water what could I serve? I have form cups, plastic flatware, paper plates, etc for serving but, I'm lost in the sauce on everything else. Thank you :)
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your question. It’s lovely to hear how much you want make the new Rabbi feel at home. Before giving a more detailed answer, perhaps the best suggestion would be to ask the Rabbi himself. I’m sure he’d be touched and more than happy to openly and honestly tell you what he’d be comfortable with. In general, you can buy pre-cooked kosher food, that comes under the supervision of a kosher authority, such as the O-U organization. They have a symbol on packaged foods (it’s the letter U inside a circle). So, you could buy packaged cakes etc. This kosher food (and drink) would have to be served cold (not heated up), ideally on disposable utensils. There is also a possibility of buying raw produce (fruits and vegetables) and making a raw salad. This is slightly trickier, as you may need to buy a new knife and chopping board on which to prepare it. (He may be comfortable using your knife and chopping board if they are clean – but many people who keep kosher prefer to be stricter and refrain from using utensils that have been used for non-kosher foods even if they are now clean and only being used for cold use). As for the dressing, you could buy one which has the kosher symbol on it. When it comes to cooking or making hot foods, this is going to be too difficult to do in a non-kosher kitchen. At best, if you are in a Jewish area, you might be able to order take away kosher food from a kosher establishment – such as pizza, burgers etc. This will be eaten with disposable utensils. Again – the best thing to do is ask the Rabbi himself. This won’t embarrass him, rather it will be seen as a sign of respect and friendship. May you merit to create and enjoy much camaraderie in your office, and your life. Blessings.
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