For Father’s Day you can have your steak and cut it too

steak knives.jpgIn 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
Happy Father’s Day!
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posted June 19, 2010 at 9:53 pm

not sure who your “indignant commentators in waiting” are, but I think it sounds pretty damn kosher to me :-)
oh, and incredibly thoughtful. Keith sounds like a very deserving husband/father!

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Minnesota Mamaleh

posted June 19, 2010 at 10:54 pm

amy, this is a really excellent post. thanks for the glimpse as to how your kitchen, and your life, work. i think it’s fascinating and the give-and-take that you both do is really, quite admirable. thanks much!

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Jennifer in MamaLand

posted June 19, 2010 at 11:42 pm

Indignant? Nope. And you know I would never WAIT to comment. :-)
Interesting reading on the eve of our annual trip into “trayfeland” to visit my husband’s Catholic family. Knowing we were coming, the Father’s Day cake will be kosher.
Yay for family members who go the extra mile to make each other feel like first-class citizens.

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posted June 20, 2010 at 11:37 am

I clicked. I clicked. Flexibility and consideration for your values are wonderful qualities in a man. Happy Father’s Day to him!

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posted June 23, 2010 at 8:57 am

My husband being a big fan of puzzles, I found this really nice puzzle shaped cutting board. He just loved it. I found it at

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posted June 24, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Intermarrriage is a tragedy, usually cutting the children off from the chain of Jewish continuity. Having a pseudo-rabbi officiate or keeping kosher do not make it any less of a tragedy.
If only people would think about their ancestors who died to remain Jews, and really investigate the authentic beliefs and practice of their religion, they might pass on the sacred traditions to their children Alas, many children are not being given the choice.

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Helaine Becker

posted June 25, 2010 at 7:24 pm

We are too poor to travel the extra 45 min to keep kosher this year, (husband had a stroke, and on food stamps) but we still keep two sets of silverware so that our children- 10 and 12, ( both parents are Jewish) will be socialized into the Kosher world.
G-d bless the supportive spouses who keep our traditions alive.

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