Can the Rav please define what has to be done to reheat a Kugel on an eletric hotplate. I have seen from the Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa that I should use an overturned pot. After trying it, I can confidently say that it is useless. Can I use metal hangers, arranged in a way that none of the Kugel actually touches the hot plate, and it is 5/6 mm’s away from the hotplate? Especially because the actual element doesn’t touch the top of the hot plate – on which the food gets rested.
Equivalently can I use a cooling rack between the hotplate and kugel Lechatchila?
The idea of those who say like the Shmiras Shabbos K’hilchoso is that since there is already a blech there, and it doesn’t look like the pot is merely covering the fire, rather as a separator from the fire, and since this is not the way people normally cook it isn’t “mechzi k’mivashel”. Therefore essentially you don’t have to put a large pot there, and a small one or a cookie tray will suffice, as long as the situation doesn’t look like one of cooking.
There are opinions that say that if the upside down vessel is so thin that it merely looks like something that would be put in between so that the food shouldn’t burn, such as a thin oven rack, then it would look like cooking. Therefore it should be a little taller than the height of something that would be put underneath just so that the food won’t burn.
Similarly, if something was put down that is thin and not noticeable that it is separating the pot from the blech it will still be mechzi kmivashel.
It should be noted that although this is the minhag of many, there are poskim, R’ Eliyashiv and the Chazon Ish included, who say it is possible
Also this is all when there is no issue of bishul itself, i.e. the food is dry without liquid or gravy, and the food is fully cooked.
Shmiras Shabbos K’hilchoso 1-ftnt 127, Zera Shmuel Ftnt. 327 ( R’ Y. Berkowitz), and several other poskim.