Monday, April 6, 2009

Don’t give me any lip

Like many Israeli families, we have granite countertops.

Aesthetic considerations aside, their main advantage is that they can be kashered.  (CYLOR for further details.)

Simply put, the process involves pouring copious amounts  of boiling hot water over the counters. (Again, CYLOR, but I believe that every authority agrees that one isn’t yotzai if one hasn’t made the annual corny joke about nisuach hamayim on Pesach instead of Succot…)

Which brings me to the Great Lip Debate.

Most Israeli kitchens have a lip around the edge of the counter. The idea is that the hot water is thus somewhat contained.

However, the down side is that dirt inevitably gets stuck in the crack between the lip and the counter, and one has to resort to toothpicks to remove it.

And so, we opted for a lipless sink. (Random bit of trivia: “Lipless” is a real word. Who knew?)

Although some native Israelis believe that our counters are rather odd-looking, we feel that we made the right decision.

Where do you stand on this all-important issue?



  1. This is the reason I love your blog. You talk about the things that matter, like Heblish, gebrokt and sink lips. We don't have lips, because the counter-man made sure that the counter would be level (unlike many other things in our apt). So when water spills, it stays put.
    I once demonstrated this to a young couple choosing their own countertop.
    I think you should put up a video.

  2. The 'Israelis' think that they have to always pour water over the counter to get it clean (all year round, not just before Pesach.)

    In the two kitchens we've designed and built in the 25 years that we are here, we never had a lip. How are we supposed to get the crumbs and garbage off the counters? You know what, those that have the lips end up pushing everything into the sink and that's why they are always getting clogged drains! (Among other things, my husband is a plumber.)

    Having that huge lip creates a ridiculous amount of extra maintenance, particularly with dirt getting into the groove, as you mentioned. I can't imagine how this invention ever got through!

  3. I hate the "lip" in our kitchen. Whenever we buy an apartment and redo its kitchen, you can bet that our counters will be lipless!

  4. MiI - Speaking of "the counter-man", I think it's very funny that most "counter-people" are really tombstone-makers. After all, granite is granite...

    Debbie - The 'Israelis' think that they have to always pour water over the counter to get it clean
    And don't forget about the buckets of water they use to do a sponga...

    Rafi G. - This could be the latest chumrah: not eating by people who have a lip on their counter...

    Yaffa - What do you use to clean the lip?

  5. Well, we don't live in Israel, we don't have a lip but we do have granite counters (although most of the rest of the kitchen is 30+ years old). We do not pour boiling water. We wet our countertops with tap water and boil the water with an iron set on high. Asked a sh'ayla and was told it works. No nisuch hamayim for us.

  6. Chag kosher v'sameach to you and yours.

  7. Tesyaa - Ironing one's counter is probably just as funny-looking as recreating Niagara Falls in one's kitchen...

    Ilana-Davita - Chag kasher v'same'ach to you too!

  8. Our counters are made of אבן קיסר so I clean the counters + lip as well as I can, and then I cover everything.

  9. Yaffa - So I guess you don't get to do the whole pouring the water thing? Moadim L'Simchah!


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