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How can I entertain a kosher guest in my non-kosher home?

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Question: How can I entertain a kosher guest in my non-kosher home?
My home is not kosher. I am hosting a Book Club meeting this week, and one of the members keeps kosher. What can I serve?
Answer:

First, it is important to understand that there are many different levels of kosher observance. While some people may feel comfortable eating cold food like sliced carrots and hummus on your plates, other people will only eat store-bought items with certain kosher labels on disposable dishes in a non-kosher home. Unless you have knowledge to the contrary, it is safest to assume they maintain and you should cater to the highest level of kosher observance.

Tips for Entertaining a Kosher Guest in a Non-Kosher Home:
  1. Buy products at the store that have a kosher label on them and that can be served cold (baked goods, crackers, cheese, deli meat, bread, ...).
  2. Either buy dairy and parve products OR buy meat and parve products. Be sure not to buy and serve your kosher guest some dairy and some meat, as Jewish Dietary Laws prohibit mixing dairy and meat.
  3. Buy disposable plates, cutlery and cups. Anything you do to the kosher food should be done with disposable products. Use a disposable knife rather than your non-kosher knife to cut. Serve the food on disposable dishes.
  4. Keep the kosher food you bought separate from non-kosher food. When kosher food is mixed with non-kosher food, it becomes non-kosher. So don't put kosher meat and non-kosher meat together on one plate.
  5. Bring your kosher guest into the kitchen. This enables them to see the kosher label on the cookie box, which increases their comfort zone. It enables them to help you, which is good for them and for you as the host. Lastly, it can ensure success in some tricky cases. For instance, only someone with experience keeping kosher might catch that the mayonnaise, while kosher, is dairy and can't be used in the meat sandwich.
  6. Most importantly, maintain the right attitude. If you are feeling resentful about having to make an extra effort, your guest will feel your resentment and have a hard time enjoying the food. Treat your guest's kosher needs like you would any other dietary restriction.

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