Friday, September 17, 2021

Welcome back to “How Should I Know?”—the column that most rabbis say you shouldn’t read for six hours after eating fleishigs. Or milchigs.

Dear Mordechai,

The minhag seems to be to use red for fleishigs and blue for milchigs. What color should one use for pareve?


Dear Colorless,

The minhag seems to be to use whatever’s left. Like if you buy a package that has red, blue and one other color, that third color is pareve. Looking into my pareve drawer, I apparently use yellow, white, black, clear, green and wood. I also have a red measuring spoon in there, because recipes rarely call for, say, 1 teaspoon meat.

But you shouldn’t necessarily go by what I have, because I also have a red pizza cutter that is apparently for meat pizza, but I use it for milchigs. I also just bought a red cheese slicer, because it was in the fifth store I went to. I got both of those items in Amazing Savings, where they ended up because no one at the regular stores was buying red pizza slicers, probably because the only people who make pizza at home are Yidden during the Nine Days.

And in fact, the second to last store I went to for a cheese slicer was a frum appliance store, and I was told that they don’t carry cheese slicers because no one was buying them. Which is weird, because I know that the kosher supermarkets sell huge blocks of cheese. So we’re just biting into huge blocks of cheese now? I’m asking so I know what’s socially acceptable for me. I’m only buying a cheese slicer because I’m married.

So a lot of things in my house just go by a combination of logic and the history of our shopping trips, the result being that anyone who comes into our house and helps themselves in the kitchen is likely to make things treif. Especially my mother-in-law, who, in her house, uses red for milchigs and blue for fleishigs. But at least if she cuts the cheese, it will be kosher.

If that makes you uncomfortable, many people use green, the logic being that many pareve foods are green, whereas if your meat or milk turns green, you throw it out.

Wait. Why do we eat vegetables, again?

Dear Mordechai,

I told my husband I didn’t want a grilled cheese when he was making one, and now I want a grilled cheese. What do I do?


Dear Hungry,

Send him to Mincha. Then, when he comes back, the house will smell like the grilled cheese you just made yourself, and he’ll make a remark about how he can still smell the grilled cheese he made almost an hour ago. And you can say, “I washed your dishes for you.”

Or you can just come clean and tell your husband that you want one. Yes, he might be frustrated that you didn’t tell him this BEFORE he put the cheese slicer in the sink, but the truth is that he only offered you one in the first place so as not to feel guilty that he’s eating one, so he’ll secretly be happy that you’re justifying his making them. He might even give you his and then take the next one when it comes out.

Option No. 3 is to tell him that you actually said yes, and that he would know that if he ever listened. But you don’t want to overuse that line on grilled cheese. You’re better off just not having one, and then making yourself something that smells even better so that your husband says, “Wow. I shouldn’t have gone with grilled cheese.”

Then you can ask him if he wants to trade.

That said, most experienced husbands will have allowed for this possibility anyway, and the moment you said no, he made two servings’ worth anyway, in case you’d change your mind. If it turns out you don’t change your mind, we eat both.

Have a question for “How Should I Know?” Wait: This is not the question I ordered.

Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia and other magazines. He has also published seven books and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected]

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