No Passover Kitchen? No Problem! How to Set Up a Makeshift Kitchen
By: Esther Pransky, Lubicom Marketing Staff
“No Pesach kitchen?!?!”
(Intone with the proper sense of horror and pity, as if someone just admitted to not having running water or indoor plumbing.)
But, yes, many of us STILL DON’T HAVE PESACH KITCHENS. And that’s okay, even if you like to cook ahead and freeze.
With the proper prep and equipment, you can set up a makeshift, but effective, Pesach kitchen.
Set up a space
The first step is choosing a space. Many people set up shop in the basement, but a dining room, den, or even bedroom can also be turned into a kitchen.
Here’s what you’re looking for:
- Chometz-free (Keep in mind any wandering children.)
- Easy access to electric outlets
- Room for a 6-8-foot table, preferably that you can access from all sides. Keep it covered with a disposable table cover for easy clean-up.
- Trash can
- A nearby sink – The sink will probably be the biggest inconvenience of your makeshift kitchen! If it’s possible, set up near a utility sink that you can use for Pesach. A bathroom or laundry sink, or shower are other options.
You can also try this cool hack: use a large cooler, filled with water and dishsoap. Put dishes in the cooler to soak and be scrubbed. Then rinse off in the shower.
Besides cleaning, you also need water for cooking itself. If you don’t have a sink, you can use bottled water instead.
Making a makeshift kitchen work
Your temporary kitchen has some glaringly obvious limitations. But if you accept them and adapt, you can accomplish an incredible amount.
The number one rule is to make as little mess as possible.
Remember, you don’t have a kitchen sink to wash up. So, use disposable whenever you can. Plastic table covers are your new best friend. Take out a minimum number of utensils – fork, knife, peeler, ladle, can opener, cutting board.
Second, only prepare one food at a time.
There just isn’t space for more. And don’t try to cook both meat and dairy, even at different times. Keep it simple and streamlined.
And if you love your makeshift kitchen and want to do it again the next year, plan ahead. When you pack away your Pesach dishes, make a bag of essentials. Store it in the front of your cabinet so you can easily get to it next year.
As long as you have a place to plug them in and a system for cleaning them, small appliances are portable and easy to move to your makeshift kitchen.
And you probably own them anyway.
For preparing food, you may want a:
- Food processor
- Hand mixer/stand mixer
- Immersion blender
To cook the food, consider a:
- Slow-cooker – Slow-cookers aren’t just for cholent! Use them for soups, stews, roasts, or cooked veggies. The low and slow cooking produces yummy, tender meats. Plus, you don’t have to babysit the food. Be sure to use a crockpot liner, so there’s no messy clean-up. (Julie Hauser has lots more slow-cooker tips in Pesach While You Sleep.)
- Convection toaster oven big enough to fit a 9x13 pan. With a mixer and a toaster oven, you can get ahead on some Pesach baking.
- Electric burner– An electric burner will let you cook in a pot like you always do. The only downside will be cleaning the pot afterward.
- Electric indoor grill–Watch out for messy clean-up, but those grill marks might make it worth it.
You definitely don’t want or need every appliance on this list. Once you decide what you’re cooking, you’ll know which appliances to choose.
What to cook
By now you probably already have a good idea of what kinds of food you can make.
Soups, stews, and meats are perfect if you’re using a crockpot. Simple baked goods will work if you have a toaster over. With a blender, you can whip up frozen treats like sorbet.
And if you can freeze it, you can probably adapt many of your favorite recipes to your makeshift kitchen.
Looking for ideas? Here are some to get you started:
One final tip: A makeshift Pesach kitchen doesn’t take much effort to set up, so start early. As Pesach gets closer and your to-do list grows, you’ll be calm and confident knowing that your freezer is already stocked.