A: Not at all. But the response from the early adopters of Kosher by Design was so enthusiastic, I just kept going. My family and friends were very encouraging, as well. And the world of kosher food has shifted dramatically in the last decade. We have choices today that would have been unthinkable ten years ago, with world class kosher wines, kosher sausages, kosher gelatin, and many new kosher ingredients. Also, we have a proliferation of fine kosher restaurants which have influenced how people cook and entertain at home.
Q: Your latest project focuses on teens and 20-somethings. Why this group?
A: There are really two groups in this demographic. There is the segment that subsists mostly on fast food, whose idea of home cooking is a store-bought entrée warmed in the microwave. I want to widen their choices. Then there’s another segment that is really into cooking, that has a more developed and health-conscious approach to eating. This group is more aware of ingredients, portions, nutrition, and actually reads packaging labels. I’ve observed firsthand that this is true of boys as well as girls. They are looking for new recipes and new approaches to eating. I also have in mind the college student cooking in a dorm or a first apartment. I considered the adventurous teen who wants to have friends over for something more substantial than pizza and pretzels. More personally, I have teens in the kitchen now. Their tastes have changed; they and their friends are more sophisticated. You should see what my kids can create in our kitchen! My recipes designs are crafted with all these in mind, as well as the adults who cook for them.
Q: So this cookbook isn’t just limited to the young, aspiring home chef?
A: Not at all. Over-30’s will find great ideas in Teens and 20-Somethings. And if you are a parent who cooks for this age group, you’ll be very happy because they’ll love the diverse cuisine – not to mention that all the older adults I’ve surveyed said that would use this cookbook for their regular meal planning as well.
Q: From looking at your previous cookbooks, it seems you like an international mix of recipes. Does that carry through in Teens and 20-Somethings?
A: I simply write about what I like to eat. I like to keep things fresh and exciting in the kitchen. I look for inspiring ideas from countries that have interesting cuisine. I take an eclectic approach and end up with fun combinations. Imagine coming home to a dinner made by your college student, featuring Mexican Pizza Empanadas, Creamy Gnocchi Pesto Salad, Thai Chicken Burgers, Hoisin Vegetables, and finishing with a Chocolate Tart in Pretzel Crust. There are dozens of suggestions here to “eat your way around the world.”
Q: It’s an odd question but how “Jewish” is this kosher cookbook?
A: As you’ll notice with Kosher by Design Short on Time, Teens and 20-Somethings is not a thematically Jewish cookbook, though many of the recipes are great for Shabbat and holiday meals. Among the 100 new recipes, few are discernibly Jewish (OK — the Hot Pretzel Challah, perhaps — and there is a good recipe for traditional Chicken Soup). You’ll find some pretty tantalizing American-style dishes such as Turkey Sliders, Peanut Butter and Banana French Toast, Tater Tot Casserole, and Tie-Dye Cookies. But they are all kosher.
Q: How labor-intensive are these recipes?
A: They were designed for young people in minimally-equipped kitchens – like a dorm room or a first apartment. They are simple, quick, fun to prepare, and really delicious. While these recipes are really for anyone anywhere, we’ve prepared them with a specific demographic in mind that has shown a keen interest in eating and learning about cooking.
Q: Is the last installment in the Kosher by Design series?
A: Would you be surprised to know that I’m already thirty recipes into the next project?
This post comes from the upcoming release “Kosher By Design: Teens and 20-Somethings” by Susie Fishbein and published by ArtScroll Shaar Press. Preorder your copy today and receive free shipping within the continental U.S. on your entire order from ArtScroll.com.