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In the JOK Kitchen with Tina Wasserman *Giveaway*


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Tina Wasserman has been in the food writing business for a while, but two years ago when she wrote her first cookbook, Entree to Judaism: A Culinary Exploration of The Jewish Diaspora, she really appeared on the map.  Tina loves to share the history of our food and helps us all connect to our Jewish roots through food.  Her new book, Entree to Judaism For Families, is filled with the tools to help kids of all ages learn to cook in the kitchen and learn bits of history too.  I had the chance to meet Tina recently and I came away with so much amazing knowledge.  Let’s see what we can learn now.

Your books are filled with little history lessons connecting the food to Jewish history, how did you learn all these facts?

History books, the Talmud, interviews with people in my community that grew up Jewish in the Maghreb (North Africa) and the Middle East and India, credible Internet sites (no Wikipedia!) that represented all Jewish denominations and, believe it or not, old Jewish cookbooks that really portrayed the culinary customs of Jewish immigrants to this country more than one hundred years ago. It was amazing to watch the transformation of immigrant cuisine as subsequent generations grew up in North America.

Corn Pudding

In your first book you shared recipes from all over the world, what is different about this book?

My focus in Entree to Judaism for Families was creating recipes that would be fun to make, would not be “gimmicky” children’s food but would be sophisticated preparations that would introduce children to a wide array of foods that would be delicious, incorporate many nutritious ingredients (vegetables,whole grains,fruits) and still have a link to ancient and modern Jewish culture and history. Each recipe provides a springboard for discussion that facilitates discussion about one’s own family heritage

Bread Kugel with Dried Fruit and Sundried Tomatoes

Bread Kugel with Dried Fruit and Sundried Tomatoes

This new book  (will) also  be  available in digital form, what is the benefit of that version?

The first book is now available on iTunes too.  I am a trained culinary educator. I actually started out as a junior high school Home Economics teacher. No matter what I am teaching-Jewish food lore or programming for religious schools, I am always teaching techniques on how to cook. The digital version is, to my knowledge, the first digitally interactive cookbook geared to young cooks. Each recipe provides links within the directions to photos of equipment or very short videos on technique. Link for the word whisk will pop up a photo of that utensil and can lead to child developmental exercises of following commands and finding the whisk in the kitchen. Highlighting this, and many other words can enhance spelling proficiency. Why do we have to always teach B is for ball and C is for cat? Why can’t W be for whisk and B for boil? The book is also imbedded with over thirty minute videos to teach technique. A child could play with the app in their car seat as easily as in the kitchen!

Classic Jewish Deli Chicken Salad

Classic Jewish Deli Chicken Salad

You believe strongly in tradition, what is your favorite Jewish tradition as it relates to food?

That is a very hard question. Certainly all recipes related to Pesach conjure memories; chopping charoset in the wooden bowl with a handheld metal blade, slicing the hard boiled eggs for the salt water at each place setting. But I think I have received the greatest joy from teaching children(and their parents) how to make a traditionally shaped 6 braided challah. When my husband’s grandmother was 90 she taught me how to create the braid sitting at her kitchen table using six skinny bakery strings. I link the tradition to Leviticus and discuss the commandment to the twelve tribes about how to place their show bread on the olden table in the holy Temple. I have a you tube video on how to do this but seeing the delight on the faces of my students, young and old, is a joy for me.

You wrote this book for the Reform movement and you made sure that all the recipes followed the laws of kashrut, why was that important to you?

The true definition of Jewish food, whether it is from India, Iraq, Russia or South America, is that it is food that carries on
culinary tradition utilizing foods that are readily available in the region that conformed to the laws of Shabbat and Kashrut. So if I am teaching foods that are rooted in centuries-old traditions, they will conform to kashrut and I will keep it that way. I keep a kosher home because I wanted my children to grow up in a home that emphasized our culinary heritage. I am definitely not alone in that regard in the Reform Jewish movement so I wanted to be true to the tradition.

Persian Cauliflower Kuku

How do you think families can use this book together?

Parents really want to do things with their children but playing a board game or sitting on the sidelines cheering on your child at a tee ball game only can bring so much connectivity! Parents have laughed when they see the recipes in my book and say that the instructions and recipes are more useful for them! These recipes, with their “Tidbits” for how to cook with children at different ages and stages of development , will facilitate relaxed and productive interaction between adult and child, teacher and student. The recipes can be a part of a meal rather than an independent activity creating a snack. And the suggested “Kitchen Conversations” opens up a dialogue that becomes personalized with family anecdotes. Persian Kuku might be a silly sounding name for a frittata-like egg and vegetable dish but it exposes the child to spinach or cauliflower,lends itself to a discussion about Persian Jews and provides a dish that can be “fun” eaten in small squares skewered with toothpicks that look like little swords or colorful frilly tops.

Corn Pudding

Persian Cauliflower Kuku

Classic Jewish Chicken Salad

Bread Kugel with Dried Fruit and Sundried Tomatoes
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About Tamar Genger MA, RD


Tamar lives in New York and is the mother of three amazing children, a Registered Dietitian, professor of Nutrition, and as you can probably guess, a foodie! Tamar loves to travel with her family and visits kosher restaurants wherever she goes. Although she loves the sights, she spends more time talking about the restaurants and food she ate! As a mom and a nutritionist, Tamar tries to balance her passion for healthy cooking with her insatiable desire for chocolate!




57 Responses to In the JOK Kitchen with Tina Wasserman *Giveaway*

  1. avatar says: chavie

    This cookbook looks really interesting

  2. This book looks wonderful! I am currently studying with a Rabbi in DC, and constantly looking for recipes for years to bring to the synagogue. This would be a wonderful accompaniment for my journey into Judaism.

    • Kelly,
      Congratulations on your important journey! The recipes and stories are, indeed fun and informative. You will get much history and culinary customs in both my books. So enjoy exploring and feel free to contact me with any questions you might have in the future.

  3. avatar says: sully1128

    I love the idea of incorporating history and recipes. The cookbook looks wonderful! I can’t wait to try the Persian Cauliflower Kuku.

  4. avatar says: raizy

    This cookbook looks really interesting, I would love yo hve one.

  5. The pictures are beautiful and the recipes sound wonderful.

  6. avatar says: kne

    This looks like a fun cookbook! I’d love to try it.

  7. avatar says: ohyoucook

    I have to try that bread kugel!

  8. I love looking at Jewish cookbooks, both to find recipes to try and just toy read the interesting information. This one sounds great.

    • avatar says: Tina

      Thank you Lynne. Starting with my first book Entree to Judaism a Culinary Exploration of the Jewish Diaspora, I always tried to tell the story behind the recipe and the connection to the Jewish people. It makes the dish come alive and be relevant and can connect us to our own ancestors. Enjoy

  9. avatar says: Samantha

    Those kuku things look really good!

    • avatar says: Tina

      they are and aside from being a great appetizer, I serve these during the seder after dipping the karpas in salt water. People pay better attention to the Haggadah when they aren’t starving to death! Enjoy

  10. avatar says: Ali

    Hope I’m not to late to enter the contest . I could really use this book.

  11. interesting would love it

  12. avatar says: Genda

    This looks great! I would love to get it!

  13. avatar says: Racheli

    I love cooking with kids and the fact that she says she includes ‘Tidbits’ on that!I find that they are much more excited to eat the food afterwards. Also, it’s an interesting way of teaching my family about different people and their customs.

    • avatar says: Tina

      Racheli you are absolutely right in all your points. And,in the digital format the book can be used to play with and learn more about the kitchen. Imagine having a picture of a whisk pop up when the cursor goes over the word for whisk. Now you can say to your child, “now go to Mommy’s drawer and find the whisk–child developmental skills enhanced. Enjoy!

  14. im curious looks interesting

  15. avatar says: Rivka

    Would love this book!

  16. Would love to win this book. My kids are healthy eaters and enjoy their veggies — luckily they don’t know I’m a closet chocoholic ;)

  17. avatar says: Cheryl

    Looks like a very interesting cookbook!

  18. avatar says: Elie

    I love a good cookbook! Always looking for new and inovative recipes!

  19. I would love this.

  20. avatar says: Helene

    I LOVE cookbooks. This one looks amazing!

  21. avatar says: Helene

    would love to win a cookbook

  22. avatar says: Tisha

    I love to share recipes with my daughter and the history of them is a add bonus :)

  23. I have the first Entree to Judaism and read it over and over. The recipes are great and the history fascinating.

    • avatar says: Tina

      Thank you Linda. You are using the book exactly as I had hoped one would. You will enjoy the new one and most of the recipes are vegetable based and are listed by seasons so we can subtly teach sustainability to our children.

  24. One of my favorite cooking “buddies”. Such well written cookbooks with great recipes!

  25. This cookbook looks amazing and unique ! Would love to own a copy!

  26. avatar says: April

    With a new granddaughter learning to eat her culture’s foods, this book that can teach her ideas will be great

  27. avatar says: deana c

    The cookbook loos great. Thanks for the chance!

  28. avatar says: Tamar

    Looks delicious. I’d love to use some of these recipes for Shabbos.

  29. avatar says: Nechama

    Oh how I love food facts and history!

  30. avatar says: Sarah

    Looks like a great cookbook, would love to have it!!

  31. I’m new to Jewish cooking so this would help me a lot. I count on this site each week for my Shabbos meal and now I come during the week when I just don’t know what to do for dinner. Thanks for such a wonderful site.

  32. avatar says: Stephanie

    My fav type of book

  33. Count me in please.

  34. Sounds like an very interesting book

  35. avatar says: Daniel M

    always like trying new recipes

  36. I love to learn about the history and tradition of food. This looks like a great book!

  37. avatar says: Fumio

    Looks like a very interesting cookbook.

  38. I always love a new cookbook, especially one with history.

  39. thanks for the chance to win

  40. avatar says: Carolsue

    I MUST try the Classic Jewish Deli Chicken Salad! I’d love to win this cookbook.

  41. avatar says: Carolsue

    I made the Jumbo Potato Pancake with Sage. It was so easy using the Manischewitz Potato Pancake Mix. You’d never know it was from a box — it was so good and looked so pretty when done!

  42. This new cookbook looks really interesting!

  43. says: Kathy

    Thank you for the great giveaway please count me in :)

  44. I love a good book

  45. It sounds like a great book on Jewish cooking.

  46. avatar says: Sand

    Sounds like a great cookbook!

  47. avatar says: Kamla

    Sounds like an awesome cookbook!

  48. avatar says: Cynthia

    Loved the bio of this book. A book with a great purpose. Can’t wait to try the Persian Kuku. Everything looks yummy

  49. I live in a small town in Georgia. There are 4 Jews and no good places to eat. Cook books become a life saver for being able to have a good kosher meal.

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