I have soaked floors, water seeping into 3 drawers full of stuff I don’t want to think about, a full load of rags in the dryer, and a vague sense of unease that I’ve done something wrong. I don’t feel holy (or at least holy-er), I don’t feel pure (or pure-er).
I feel like I just pulled myself out of the pool after swimming 30 laps first thing in the morning: I know I was supposed to do it; I know it was good for me, but that doesn’t keep me from wondering if drowning wasn’t maybe a better way to start the day.
You see, I just kashered my first part of the kitchen.
Actually, calling it “part of the kitchen” is a stretch. (Actually, calling it “kashering” may also be a stretch, but that’s another thing entirely)
Actually, the area I chose to kasher is “the bar” – an area with a metal sink and corian counter (all kasher-able according to Rabbi SpiceRock, our mentor and guide.) that certainly COULD be a place where drinks are served, but which we long ago converted to what Pandora delicately refers to as “the crap magnet”.
I mentally reviewed the process Rabbi SpiceRock had gone over with us:
- Completely clean the sink and surfaces to be kashered
- Let it sit 24 hours
- boil water in a kettle
- pour water completely over surfaces
Tada! You (or we) are then the proud owner of a kashered sink and countertop!
What could be simpler?
(the obvious answer here is “waiting for someone who actually knows what they are doing to come show you how to do it”).
I started with steps 1 and 2. I would like to state here an now that I am NOT a messy person. Really.
But despite my perception to the contrary, I found a thick layer of spongy dust (no, it was NOT mold) in the corners, a streak of steak marinade in one of the drawers, and a small, ancient mass that seemed to be made up of 2 M&Ms, a pencil eraser and a lego. That thing may or may not have shown signs of sentience.
Having cleaned to a level that would make my mother in law, not to mention a HazMat team, proud I was ready for steps 3-5, and ran into the first snag:
We don’t own a teapot.
I know, I know, “how can any human in the world NOT own a teapot?!?” The answer is that Pandora and I have loved our instant hot from the moment we discovered it almost 20 years ago, and have installed one in every place we’ve lived. Teapots are a thing of the (distant) past.
BUT (to borrow a phrase from those ginsu commercials), “that doesn’t work to kasher your countertops.”
Instead I boiled a big pot of water, and planned to ladle it out with a smaller pot.
You know the difference between a teapot and a pot of boiling water? Teapots have had thousands of years of design refinements to easily, safely and conveniently pour hot boiling water out into cups, pitchers and even counter tops. Octogenarian grandmothers can use teapots without risk to life or limb. 2 quart saucepans? Not so much.
Here are a few other pointers I picked up in this process:
- When you are pouring boiling water with your right hand you may want to think about whether it is really smart to stop the tidal wave cascading over the edge with nothing but your your left hand and sheet of Bounty paper towels
- Water pouring across countertops is very likely to start dripping down the front and into the drawers and cabinets below them. Smart people drape the front of those cabinets with rags or a sheet. Or else you, like I, will spend a quiet (if sullen) hour or so afterward with towels and a hairdryer, trying to salvage what has been soaked.
- Water always seeks the lowest level. Once the pouring water has thoroughly soaked the drawers and cabinets, it will then start to drip, seep and drain onto the floor.
- Even if it’s not boiling by the time the water gets to the floor level, it will still hot enough that you should probably wear more than socks to protect your feet.
In the end, I would have to set the score at:
Kashering Gremlins – 1
Team GoingKosher – 0
For the moment, I’m going take a few days applying bandages and aloe to my burns, and make another attempt in a few days.