Jan 22, 2009

School, Food, Books, and More!

So much to say! So little space. I'm torn between writing several blog posts all in one effort, or to just pile it all in here. There are some bloggers who will post 10 posts in a day, clogging up the old Google Reader. There are others who will write a novel, making my brain bleed. So where is the happy medium? To be honest, I don't know. So for now, we'll just throw it all out there in a couple itty, bitty morsels of goodness.

Topic No.1: Food, Kashrut, and Weight Watchers
I'm back on the wagon with Weight Watchers online. It was about a year ago that I hopped on the bandwagon, I lost about 20-25 pounds, and I was feeling good about  myself. Now? Well, there's something about this weather that makes me want to lose weight. So I'm on again. The great thing about this, and how it ties into this blog, is that I'm making all efforts to go kosher. Tuvia has managed to pick up a variety of sets of silverware, baking dishes, plates, bowls, you name it. When we eat at his place, we do it kosher. Here in my dorm room, I'm pretty much pareve. I will do fish or veggies, but no meat, so I don't have to worry about much. I'm still actively reading Going Kosher in 30 Days , kindly granted to me by the folks over at the Jewish Learning Group, but I'll just say that it hasn't been 30 days. It's a longer process -- a much longer process. I have oodles of questions for people about dishes and the kitchen, for one. It's so easy here, but it's difficult at Tuvia's (at least, I think it is). So what would you say about the following:

  • How do you keep track of what baking pans/pots/etc. are Meat and what are Dairy/Pareve?
  • Do people have different dishes/silverware/etc. for Pareve? Or just use Dairy?
  • Do you wash them separately in the dishwasher? All together?
  • What's your policy on the oven and cooking dairy and meat at separate times?
  • How do you make the kitchen work like clockwork while trying to make everything not mesh?!

So, it seems like a lot, I know. But I now understand why Jews are keeping the toss-away aluminum baking-pan business and paper plate/plastic silverware businesses in business. I mean, it just makes life easier. This is why I like my vegetarian/pareve way of life. It's just easy. And for me, it's all about ease. Or maybe it's not supposed to be easy? I suppose that could be the Jewish way.

Topic No. 2: Chavi's Academic Life, or A Class Breakdown!
I know my readers just LOVE to hear what's going down in my academic life. So I thought I'd fill you in on the classes I'm taking this semester. 

Class No. 1: I'm once again doing Modern Hebrew, which after one day already has me overwhelmed. I'm going to try my hardest to get to an Ulpan this summer so I can brush up and really be ready for a second year as a master's student. I want to be able to read the texts in their original and to really be able to participate in class. But so far, everything is NOT coming back to me at a quick pace, which has me quite nervous. 
Class No. 2: Probably my most challenging class, Talmudic Historiography and Midrashic Thought is a graduate seminar that will definitely make me think. The amount of reading alone might kill me, but it's very much up the alley of what I want to be doing. Keeping up with the professor and some of the more advanced students, though, might stress me out unnecessarily. Add to this that the course reserves aren't yet on reserve and the books are expensive and the library is slow ... oy. My mind is already ready to explode. This will be another last-minute semester with me trying to figure out which of 20 topics I want to write a term paper on. I can't wait. 
Class No. 3: My third and final course shouldn't be too difficult, but it could prove to be more challenging than I think. It's with an adjunct professor (a new, original face, huzzah!), and it is the Ancient Near East taught using the Tanakh as a frame to analyze the rest of the Near East. I think it'll be interesting, considering it's an undergrad course with about 50 people in it, many who scoffed at the idea of using the Hebrew Bible as a source book. I'll let you know how it goes, but the class relies on a 20-page paper that I will surely rock. I just have to figure out what to write about ... something obscure, perhaps. Maybe looking or focusing more on archeology. I could, of course, just write more about Ba'al and calf figurines ... cross-cultural review? Who knows.

You like how I have things divided up like a nice little paper or outline? Welcome to my world. I have to think of everything as a finely organized outline, and I'm very much NOT an outline kind of person.

As an aside, there's a delicious little book by Joel M. Stein on its way to me (which I hope to review amid all the serious academic books that I'm reading) called "Webstein's Dictionary: The Essential Guide to Yiddishizing Your Life." OyChicago did a nice little write-up on it, and you can actually buy the book over on Pop Judaica. If you want to wait and see what I think, feel free. Either way, it'd probably be a stellar gift or a hilarious coffee-table companion.

At any rate, this is all for now. In the morning, thanks to the suggestion of Tuvia, I should have a d'var Torah on this week's parshah. It's wishful thinking, maybe, but I'm hoping to get back into the swing of looking at the Torah portion each week on Fridays between Hebrew and Ancient Near East. Until then, be well!


Mottel said...

How do you keep track of what baking pans/pots/etc. are Meat and what are Dairy/Pareve?

Colors - either go for different colored pots, or there are stickers that can be found in some Judaica stores (and online if you do a search) that say "Fleishig/Meat" etc.

Do people have different dishes/silverware/etc. for Pareve? Or just use Dairy?

Parve can theoretically be used on either set of dishes. Keep in mind that if it was cooked in a meat or dairy pot etc. you ought to use the same dishes (the exact nuances are slightly more complicated, with room given for different kinds of mistakes . . . but to keep everything optimal and safe etc.)

Do you wash them separately in the dishwasher? All together?

Separately. Washing dirty plates if different use in hot water can render them non kosher!

What's your policy on the oven and cooking dairy and meat at separate times?

They should not be cooked in the same oven, as all kinds of grease, oil, drippings and steam from one dish will get on the other. If you only have one oven, make it kosher as one type of oven, and double wrap (in aluminum foil) another dish if you wish to cook it in there at another time.

How do you make the kitchen work like clockwork while trying to make everything not mesh

All of the answers are for educational purposes only . . . please speaking to your local competent Orthodox Rabbi for actual instructions on what to do!

Anonymous said...

Ooh, Moteel, nice response! I've done quite a lot of reading about this and I'm pleased to see that my memory ties in with what you wrote. But that's just for me :)

Chavi, I hear what you say about the throw-away kitchen items, but it really pains me to think that so much of the rubbish that is tossed out could be due to people trying to do kosher without the organisational pain (or less of it). I'm not a fool or an idealist who can't appreciate that sometimes these things are unavoidable, but still... *sigh*

Shabbat Shalom to you - looking forward to your d'var Torah!


Tuvia said...

Mottel, I agree with most of what you wrote, and a lot of things are very similar to what me and Chavi have discussed.

Thankfully Chavi prefers cleaning stuff by hand so that does fix the issue of the dish washer, if we did do that.

I did also suggest the stickers or labeling it in some way. I think thats the easiest solution because that helps avoid any possible issue you might have. The Lubavich store I frequent in New Jersey I have seen sell the Red, Green and I think Blue everything to seperate between Parve and Meat and Dairy. Maybe next time we are down there it will be worth investing in them.

This definitely has been a fun process trying to convert my kitchen over to a kosher kitchen.

Mottel said...

Going Kosher is always fun . . . A tip -don't push it off until right before pesach, b/c then you'll have to do it twice!!
A good shabbos!

Ilana said...

Another idea for differentiating pots or utensils is to use colored electric tape (red for meat, blue for dairy, green for pareve, perhaps).

Such as, http://www.arrisi.com/product_catalog/listers/index.asp?id=125

This is what I do and it works well.. also cheaper than those stickers.

You quickly learn to differentiate pots, plates, etc. and if you buy new things, try to make them look dissimilar.

Of course, keeping them in separate cabinets can help with that.

Gavriel said...


Can you please point me to the tshuva or source that poskins that you can wash meat and dairy in the same dishwasher at separate times?

Do you have to run an empty cycle in between? Do you have separate racks?


Mottel said...

Gavriel - that's why I said that my answers were for educational purposes only and a Rabbi should be consulted. Thanks for catching my mistake! I meant that they should be washed in separate machines!

Tuvia said...

Mottel, its a good point about Passover, and something I need to think about.

My kitchen is definitely not set up for easily going kosher. I had a neighbor growing up that had 2 ovens, 2 dishwashers, 2 sinks, everything in BOTH of their kitchens.

Now that set up is an Jews dreams. It was definitely an awesome set up for them, and am completely jealous of it.

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