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The Kosher Kitchen: A Practical Guide

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The Kosher Kitchen

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The Kosher Kitchen
A Practical Guide
By Rabbi Binyomin Forst
Artscroll Halachah Series
The Feuereisen Edition
Mesorah Publications, New York: 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4226-0897-5

Reviewed by Simone Bonim - July 31, 2009

Keeping kosher is the hallmark of the Jewish home and the Jewish way of life. It elevates the preparation and consumption to a spiritual level. Learning the laws of Kashrus may appear daunting at first glance, but it need not be so, for no matter how well learned you are on the Halachos of Kashrus, there will be times when you will need to consult your Rav to determine the correct answer to a question. Once you accept that you don't have to 'learn it all' you will find yourself learning more and being more comfortable in your practice.

Rabbi Binyomin Forst's new book, The Kosher Kitchen: A Practical Guide is perfect for those new to keeping kosher, for those just starting housekeeping, for students engaged in the study of basar b'chalav and taaruvos in Shulchan Aruch, as well as for anyone who wants to improve their understanding, appreciation, and their adherence to the laws of Kashrus. Rabbi Forst's writing is clear and precise, making the laws of Kashrus accessible to both laymen and scholars alike.

The text of The Kosher Kitchen: A Practical Guide is organized into five books, covering topics such as general issues involving Kashrus, principles of basar b'chalav, keeping a kosher kitchen, questions concerning foods prepared by non-Jews, and the final book covers just about everything else from having a non-Jewish housekeeper to the inclusion of a utensil by utensil guide to kashering utensils, ranging from your barbecue grill and blender to your saltshaker and toaster oven.

According to the book's introduction, some of the material in the first half of this book previously appeared in Rabbi Forst's more scholarly volume, The Laws of Kashrus. The second half of this book contains completely new material. The material is organized primarily in outline form instead of a more traditional, straight narrative form. Rabbi Forst makes extensive use of bullet points and numbered lists, which serve to highlight important topics. As well, summaries are provided throughout, ensuring that you have a firm grasp of the material under discussion. You will also find that the text is enhanced by the inclusion of charts and diagrams that expand upon the text. Extensive footnotes are also provided which will be helpful for those wishing to explore the topics under discussion in greater detail. These footnotes also help to clarify some of the thornier issues discussed in the text. A glossary is included, and the text is finely indexed, making it easy to find any topic you might be looking for.

The Feuereisen Edition of The Kosher Kitchen: A Practical Guide is ideally suited for gift giving. Not only is it an essential guidebook that should be in every Jewish household, but it is also a beautifully crafted, and well-bound book. The cover is a dark blue, with silver lettering and it has a padded feel to it. A sewn in ribbon is included, for use as a bookmarker. Glossy, heavy, acid-free paper has been used in this book, and the book looks like it will stand up to years of heavy use. Most important, this vital book will help you identify problems before they occur and it will help teach you when and why, you should seek the advice of your Rav whenever you are unsure of an answer to your questions about kashrus and the various Halachos that go along with keeping kosher!

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