When one cooks meat in a pot, the walls of the pot absorb some of the food cooked in it and is therefore considered “meat”. If dairy is later cooked in the same pot, the pot will release some of the meat flavor contained in its walls into the dairy food and will therefore prohibit the entire dish being cooked in it. This is the basic law regarding cooking a dairy dish in a meat pot.
Let us now discuss the law of “giving putrid taste”. When we say that the dairy dish cooked in the meat pot becomes forbidden for consumption, this only applies if the dairy dish is being cooked in the pot within twenty-four hours of meat having been cooked in the same pot. However, if twenty-four hours since the previous cooking of meat in the pot have already elapsed by the time one mistakenly cooks dairy in the same pot, the dairy dish does not become prohibited since after twenty-four hours, the meat flavor absorbed in the walls of the pot become putrid and no longer retain a good flavor. Thus, this absorbed meat flavor “gives a putrid flavor” to the dairy dish and the dairy dish is not prohibited. Nevertheless, it is forbidden to purposely cook dairy foods in a pot in which meat was previously cooked even if a long time has passed since meat was last cooked in this pot, for our Sages prohibited this as they were concerned that if people would do so, they would come to mistakenly cook dairy and meat in the same pot within the same twenty-four hours. Thus, regarding the pot which was originally used to cook meat and after twenty-four hours had elapsed, a dairy dish was mistakenly cooked in it, although we have established that the dairy dish is indeed permissible for consumption, the pot itself nevertheless becomes forbidden for use for either meat or dairy usage since it has now absorbed both meat and dairy flavors.
The same applies if meat is being cooked in a pot and one uses a spoon which absorbed dairy to stir the pot. In this case, the spoon will release some of the dairy flavor absorbed in it into the meat dish. Thus, if the spoon has not absorbed dairy flavor for twenty-four hours or more, the meat dish will remain permissible for consumption by the spoon will become forbidden for use for either meat or dairy usage. However, if the spoon has absorbed dairy flavor within the past twenty-four hours, the spoon will then cause the entire meat dish to become prohibited.
Nevertheless, if the meat dish contains sixty times the amount of the portion of the spoon which was stuck into it, for instance, if one stuck in a ten-ounce spoon into a meat dish containing at least six-hundred grams, both the pot and the food are permissible for consumption and usage since the meat dish is large enough to void any dairy flavor released into it from the spoon (since we must always calculate this based on the weight of the spoon and not the amount of flavor released from it as we can never be certain how much that is) and only the spoon is forbidden for usage since it has now absorbed both milk and meat flavors. However, if the meat dish does not contain at least six-hundred grams which, in our scenario, is sixty times the weight of the spoon, the dairy flavor released by the spoon will not have been nullified in which case the meat dish, the pot, and the spoon are all forbidden as a result of the mixtures of the meat and dairy flavors.
Based on the above, we see the importance for two sets of dishes and flatware in every Jewish household.
In the following Halacha, we shall discuss the law regarding glassware.