Interview w/ Liz Rueven of Kosher Like Me: Her New Cookbook, Blog Life, and the Writing Process

17 Mar

4 Bloggers Dish Passover Liz Rueven

We’ve been a fan of Liz Rueven, editor and founder of Kosher Like Me, ever since we get into blogging.  Not only is she very kind and supportive of our work, she’s an overflowing font of knowledge in all things regarding food, especially the veg-life.  Her blog covers events, restaurant news, recipes (oh the recipes!), reviews, and tons more of nomworthy goodness.  Liz was even recently named one of 5 Jewish bloggers that you need to be following by Relish.com…well, duh.

But, it would be a crime to paint Liz’s work into a corner as just Jewish, just Kosher.  Yes, the recipes she shares and the foods that she talk about are kosher, but it’s the deep respect for food, farms, local food, and the art of all things culinary that cements Kosher Like Me as a blog to be reading…whatever your religious beliefs or dietary restrictions are.  And, if you’re ever on the lookout for great spots to hit up in CT (she lives in Westport) or NY, KLM is your jam.

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These are just some of the reasons why Liz has become so successful and so popular…but let’s add one more bullet point to her awesomeness:  a brand new book!  Yup, just last week she released 4 Bloggers Dish:  Passover; Modern Twists on Traditional Flavors.  Along with three other well known and award-winning bloggers, she helped put together an e-cookbook that puts spins on the everyday, ordinary, and expected food of Passover and transforms these dishes to year long gems.  The other three contributors in this new cookbook are Whitney Fisch of Jewhungry, Sarah Lasry of The Patchke Princess, and Amy Kritzer of What Jew Wanna Eat. 4 Bloggers Dish is on sale right now for $1.99 on Amazon with options for reading on the Kindle, Nook, and iPad.

Liz Rueven Kosher Like MeWanting to learn more about Liz, her inspiration to start Kosher Like Me, and what the process of creating a cookbook was like, we’d like to present a nice Q&A session that we had with her:

1)  Why did you start Kosher Like Me?

I started writing Kosher Like Me when we began spending more time in the city after my youngest left for university. Of course, we began eating out more in NYC . I always did a ton of research to determine if the menu would suit our kosher needs. In order to avoid the “forbidden” stuff, we eat as vegetarians when we are away from our kosher kitchen. So finding restaurants that had more than 1-2 veg items on their menu was the key. Friends who honor the kosher rules like I do (who are kosher like me) began asking me where I liked to eat out. So I began to gather my resources and launched the blog. I also write when I travel, hoping to be a resource for those who are looking for similar kinds of vegetarian heavy menus and pure, locally grown foods.
2)  What do you feel it is about your blog, writing style, and posts that keeps people excited and coming back for more?
I hope that it’s the range of things I cover. That range might be a restaurant and book review one week, a vegetarian food event or product review the next. I always try to post recipes since everyone loves reading them. Since I cover mostly NYC and CT, I like to include a recipe either from the resto I am covering or in the spirit of that resto. For readers across the country, this is particularly important. I love to highlight events that are suitable for like-minded eaters, like the recent Vegetarian Expo in NYC.
3)  In your new book, you worked with three other bloggers.  How did you all meet and what ties all your different recipes and view points together?
We have NEVER met!  We came together because we read each other’s blogs. When Amy Krtizer, the blogger from Austin, TX. came to NY in Jan., Sarah and I met her but not at the same time. None of us have ever met our fourth gal-pal,  Whitney Fisch, from Miami!
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We did all of our collaborating over Google Hangout. It was the most unusual way to get to know each other. From the moment I was invited to participate in this collaborative e-book until the day it was published on Amazon it was only 7 weeks. It was a very fast, intense, focused ride.
4)  Why is Passover, one of the most quintessential holidays in Judaism, perfect for the focus of a book?
Quinoa Asparagus SaladPassover is the only holiday where we have prescribed eating restrictions (other than kosher rules). We don’t eat any flour or anything leavened (so bread, pasta, cookies are all out) for 8 days. So most people find this holiday of liberation (freedom from slavery in Egypt) to be quite restrictive! For that reason, we wanted to make things easier for home cooks by highlighting lots of great twists on traditional dishes. I thought it was important to remind folks that there are lots of favorite foods that remain acceptable during these 8 days.
I’ve included my recipe for Quinoa Salad with Spring Vegetables because it is Kosher For Passover [pictured above and featured here later this week], of course, but would be appealing at any time, on anyone’s table. Passover dishes do not have to include matzah!
5)  We go through crazy roller coasters of emotions and energy when we’re working on a simple blog post.  How did the experience of providing and writing material for your book compare to the writing that you’re used to?
I was invited to join the project through an e-mail from bloggers I didn’t know. And I couldn’t imagine getting it all done in 7 weeks. But once we all agreed,  we each conceived of, wrote, tested and re-tested about 20 new and original recipes in that short period. In addition, we shot our own pics . There were challenges at each turn, especially with the tech aspects. Writing an eBook specifically for that platform presented many challenges. When I write Kosher Like Me, I have an editorial calendar that I use to keep myself organized. The framework I use is based on growing season and then holidays. But it is fluid, so if new ideas and opportunities pop up, I move things around. With this project, once the 4 Bloggers approved the list of recipes, we agreed to NOT move anything out of the book.
6)  What kind of feelings went through you when you saw the book and your name on it for the first time?
I was really proud that we managed to push through despite the challenges. I am really excited to have 3 new blogger-pals in NJ. TX and FL that I know are true friends.  We morphed into a strong team of collaborators by the second week. I am most proud of how our relationships evolved. We started out defining the game rules by stating that we would be honest and direct with each other right from the start. This level of honesty was so refreshing. Nobody minced words when they had something to say!
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The organic quality of the process was fascinating to me. We never spoke about “roles” in advance. When needs or problems popped up, the person who could best manage it automatically stepped forward to help. I loved that “we’re all in this together” spirit.
7)  Is there anything else you’d like to share or for us to talk about? 
Because my blog highlights mostly organic, local and seasonal eats, many of my readers are like-minded eaters but not necessarily kosher or even Jewish. if readers are interested in knowing about healthy and mostly vegetarian based meals, they will likely find Kosher Like Me interesting. I hope so!

3 Responses to “Interview w/ Liz Rueven of Kosher Like Me: Her New Cookbook, Blog Life, and the Writing Process”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. CT Food News, Vol. 16: Whole Pigs, IPA Day, Beer Stuff, Props, and More… | OmNomCT - August 7, 2014

    […] and Elise from Kosher Like Me rocked the Wakeman Town Farm Chili Cook-off and took home first place! […]

    Like

  2. Quinoa Salad with Spring Veggies Recipe from Liz Rueven of Kosher Like Me | OmNomCT - March 20, 2014

    […] this week we shared an interview with Liz Rueven, owner and editor of Kosher Like Me and co-author of the brand new e-book, 4 Bloggers Dish: […]

    Like

  3. Interview with OmNomCT | Kosher Like Me - March 17, 2014

    […] Check out the interview about 4BloggersDish eBook posted on OmNomCT. […]

    Like

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