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A Joy of Kosher Cookbook Q&A with Jamie Geller

Joy of Kosher Cookbook

I figure you may be wondering about my new Joy of Kosher cookbook, like what’s the Mah Nishtanah this time. So I interviewed myself, asking the questions people ask me.   If I missed anything you just gotta know, ask in the comments and I will answer you – a whole lot more fun than talking to myself.

Q: So this is your third cookbook. Did you always want to write cookbooks?

A: I always wanted to eat.  But cooking? Not so much. I had to learn out of necessity, so I taught myself, struggling through epic failures till I could serve something edible.

Q: Is “Hubby” a real person?

A: Realer than real. He’s the reason I learned to cook.  Just my luck, he comes from a family of professional caterers and naturals in the kitchen.   What’s a girl to do?

Q: What about “Angel Face” and “Miss Bouncy,” are they real too?

A: Absolutely. They’re my kids – along with Little Momma, Bruiser and The Baby. This book is all about family, so naturally I brought my family into it. Their real names are a real mouthful since each kid has two names and one even has three, so the nicknames work well.  You’ll see them in full color throughout the book being themselves, enjoying life – jumping, laughing, running, eating. When it comes to prancing in front of a camera, they inherited that gene from me. I couldn’t believe it when the baby waited for the camera to be pointed at her before she would smile.

Q: ‘Scuse me, but cookbooks are about food. Where does your family come in?

A: Scuse me, but who eats all that food? I think food is very personal and has to fit your family dynamic. My family is a major influence on my cooking. Like all family cooks out there, I have to find healthy , satisfying recipes my kids will actually eat, taking all their biases into consideration (“Oooh, that looks too squishy.” You know what I mean.) So when people think of food, they immediately think of whom they’re serving it to and what the reaction will be. We all want to hear, “Yummy! More, please.” I had lots of fun translating my family’s favorite cozy weekday meals into fancy-shmancy dishes too. Now it’s my guests who say, “Yummy! More please.”

Q: The recipes are that good?

A: My best! I put together more than 100 of my go-to everyday foolproof recipes (I know because I’m the fool who worked them over again and again) as well as the ones I use for holidays and special occasions. They were tested over and over till we got them perfect. Hubby ate the mains; I did desserts. Somebody had to. Then we doubled the number of dishes by providing Dress Up/Dress Down options. So you’ve got over 200 possibilities here, all easy and all absolutely delicious.

Q: I’m glad you mentioned that. In the book’s title, what do “Dress Them Up” and “Dress Them Down” mean?

A: The whole idea of this book is that we don’t have to compartmentalize our cooking brains into “Everyday” and “Holiday.” We can build bridges.  I take those fave recipes of mine and show you how to dress them up as a tantalizing, elegant dish worthy of entertaining or dress them down for Wednesday night din din. And we’re not talking about boring “kid food.”

Q: You have said that this cookbook is your “most personal”? Why is that?

A: In my other books I told some personal stories, but in this one I tell a TON of personal stories.  I also share diary entries and pictures from our family albums and talk about my life and the people in it a lot, lot more – I guess because appreciating my approach to food has a lot to do with knowing what makes me tick.  My food and I are inseparable in more ways than one. And hey, it’s a lot of fun to write that stuff. People tell me, “This book is more than just great food; it’s a great read”. You’ll laugh with me. Some people even cry with me.

Q: Care to provide a preview of some of your fave recipes?

A: Yup, with pleasure and pictures too!

joyofkosher collage

From left to right: Pecan Sticky Buns, Chocolate Chip Cookie Cream Stacks, Birthday Pancakes, Peaches and Jam Sweet Pot Cake, Soba, Sweet Sesame Tofu, and Vegetables, Moroccan Roasted Chicken

Order your copy of the Joy of Kosher cookbook.