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I've heard that even if kosher ingredients and equipment are used, the food cooked (i.e. using heat) by a Gentile isn't kosher in most circumstances. I am wondering what the opinions are regarding whether that also affects the equipment that is used.

This is specifically relevant to me: since I'm not Jewish, can I cook for myself in a kosher kitchen? But I'm not looking for a ruling; I would always ask permission from people regarding their own kitchens :) I just want a clearer idea about what should be asked.

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If a non-Jew cooks something, the food is rendered non-kosher and so is the pot it was cooked in (and spoon it was stirred with, etc.: Shulchan Aruch, Yore Dea 113:16). I'm not sure what the various rulings have been from rabbis over the years, but that is the rule as accepted by Jews (as far as I know in all communities). When I refer to a pot as "non-kosher", I mean that it is considered to have absorbed non-kosher food within its walls and cannot be used to cook food that is meant to be kosher.

However, certain things cooked by non-Jews do not thereby become non-kosher (and, thus, do not render the pot non-kosher). The general rule is that a food often eaten in its uncooked state, or something that (after being cooked) would not be served at a state dinner, does not become non-kosher when cooked by a non-Jew. There are more details about these and other exceptions (though, be warned, that page seems to focus exclusively on Ashkenazic practice), but a rabbi should be approached with any questions.

  • A great answer, thanks. For any questions she, and even I, would definitely ask a rabbi, but it helps to have a clearer picture. Is there any discussion about the stove or oven being rendered non-kosher, or is it just utensils to be thinking of? – Annelise Jul 25 '13 at 21:59
  • @Annelise, I've never studied the laws of bishul akum (stuff cooked by a non-Jew) or of taaruvos (mixtures including non-kosher food, including 'mixtures' in the walls of pots and things). So I'm really not sure. Based on my study of basar v'chalav (meat with dairy), though, I suspect the oven would be rendered non-kosher if a non-Jew cooked something in it that raised steam. Please, please, no one rely on this! – msh210 Jul 26 '13 at 6:43
  • I'll let you know what I hear :) – Annelise Jul 26 '13 at 10:11

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