Question: May you add butter to a potato baked with meat dishes (that were not used with meat in the previous 24 hours)?
Short Answer: You should ideally not cook a pareve food in meat dishes (that were not used in the previous 24 hours) if you plan on eating the pareve food with dairy. If, however, it was cooked in a meat dish, and you accidentally put on butter, it is permitted to eat.
The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Dei’ah 95:1) rules that if a person cooks a pareve item in meat dishes (that have no meat residue but were used with meat in the previous 24 hours), the pareve item may nonetheless be eaten with dairy. The reason for this leniency is that the Shulchan Aruch holds that “nat bar nat” is permitted. In other words, since the meat gave some of its taste to the dish, which only then transferred it to the pareve item (as opposed to directly), we don’t view the pareve item as fully meat, and thus it may be eaten together with dairy.
The Rama (Yoreh Dei’ah 95:2) disagrees with the Shulchan Aruch. Nat bar nat, where the meat dish was used within the previous 24 hours, is forbidden l’chatchilah. Accordingly, one may not eat a pareve food that was cooked in a meat dish (used in the previous 24 hours for meat) together with dairy. However, b’dieved, if the pareve food was already mixed with the dairy (i.e., you added butter to the baked potato cooked with meat dishes that were used for meat in the past 24 hours), it is permitted to eat the pareve food.
The Shach (Yoreh Dei’ah 89:19) appears to adopt the lenient ruling of the Shulchan Aruch. However, Rav Moshe Sternbuch shlita, in T’shuvos V’Hanhagos (1:434), notes that the Yad Avraham interprets the Shach as merely explaining the reason of the Shulchan Aruch. The Shach himself agrees with the Rama that the pareve food may not be eaten with dairy. Interestingly, Rav Sternbuch cites the Darchei T’shuvah (89:17), who is lenient when the meat dish was only used with chicken (and not meat) in the past 24 hours, but Rav Sternbuch rules that this is not the ruling of the Rama, who does not distinguish between meat and chicken.
II. The Unused Dish
But what about where the meat dish was not used with meat in the previous 24 hours? In other words, may you add butter to a potato that was cooked in such a meat dish?
The Rama (Yoreh Dei’ah 95:2) permits eating the pareve item that was cooked in a meat dish (not used with meat in the previous 24 hours) with dairy. This is because it is nosein taam lifgam, that any meat taste adds negative taste to the pareve food, and ultimately the dairy food. Notably, the Taz (95:4) cites the Maharshal who disagrees and holds that the pareve food should not be eaten with dairy. Rav Sternbuch concludes that we do not follow this Maharshal.
However, this discussion is only if the pareve food was already cooked with the meat dish. But are you permitted to even cook the pareve food with the meat dish knowing that you will want to eat the pareve food with dairy? The Chochmas Adam (48:2) rules that it is forbidden to cook the pareve food in the meat dish (even if unused for the previous 24 hours). Rav Sternbuch rules like the Chochmas Adam. The sefer Dor HaM’laktim (Isur V’Heter, Vol. 1, pg. 623) notes that this is the opinion of many other poskim, as well, including the Sheivet HaLevi, the Minchas Yitzchak, and the Eimek HaT’shuvah.
III. Cooking Intentionally in Extenuating Circumstances
But in extenuating circumstances, may one cook the pareve food in the meat dish (which was not used in the previous 24 hours) that he wants to eat with dairy? For example, on Erev Shabbos, where there is no time to cook the pareve with dairy for whatever reason (oven is being used with meat, or dairy pots are dirty and there is no time to wash them), may the pareve food be cooked with a meat dish?
Rav Sternbuch rules leniently on this issue. The only reason we are strict and forbid cooking the pareve food l’chatchilah with the meat dish is because we are concerned that people will confuse with really mixing isur and pareve (“nosein taam mamash”), which is forbidden because you are being “m’vateil isur l’chatchilah” (intentionally nullifying something forbidden). But this is just a stringency, and thus doesn’t apply to extenuating circumstances.
Indeed, the P’ri M’gadim (95:4) allows, if necessary, one to cook pareve food in a meat dish on Erev Shabbos, even if you know you will subsequently mix the pareve food with dairy.
Next Week’s Topic: Must young children wait between eating meat and dairy?