In a few hours, my husband will be opening his Father’s Day gift – a set of four Henckels steak knives (Did you click on the link? Such a bargain, right?)
I imagine that steak knives are a fairly typical Father’s Day gift, and in most families would not be considered terribly meaningful. Dads like steak, and steak needs to be cut. Preferably with a knife.
This gift, however, really is meaningful. For many years, I’ve accommodated my non-Jewish husband’s desire for treif in our kosher kitchen by cramming a few plates and some dollar-store silverware in a cabinet high above the refrigerator. From time to time he grills a non-kosher steak (the nearest kosher butcher is an hour away) on a non-kosher grill, and tries to cut into it with a knife that is only slightly more sturdy than aluminum foil.
My husband Keith has been incredibly respectful of my desire to keep a kosher kitchen. He makes sure to uphold all the laws that seem fairly ridiculous to, well, both of us. He remembers to serve the girls soy milk when we are eating chicken, to use the dairy utensils for dairy and the meat utensils for meat, and to only buy certain brands when doing the grocery shopping. He has called me when I’m out of town to make sure he uses the right pan or cutting board, and lets me know when he has made a mistake so I can either kasher or dispose of the utensil in question. He puts extra money into the food budget to cover the cost of kosher meat, and he never complains about how many of his favorite foods I do not cook, and consequently, he rarely eats. And he (almost) never complains about his dollar store knives.
I’m not willing to compromise on the level of kashrut I’ve established for our kitchen (and yes, indignant commenters-in-waiting, I know it wouldn’t be kosher enough for you.) But, that doesn’t mean that my husband should feel like a second class citizen at the table, no matter what he’s eating. So, this Father’s Day, this doting father and beloved husband gets a big treif steak. And he won’t have to worry about breaking the knife while trying to cut into it. The girls and I? We’ll be eating salmon. No special knives necessary.
Want to read more about our crazy kitchen and how we make it work? Here’s a piece I wrote last Passover for interfaithfamily.com.
Happy Father’s Day!