Chatting with Susie Fishbein was just delightful. The woman is the consummate kosher icon, renowned for her best selling Kosher By Design series. Unpretentious and generous, food talk flows from her like honeyed streams of culinary consciousness.
All you KBD lovers out there are going to love Susie’s new cookbook Kosher by Design Teens and 20-Somethings, cooking for the next generation, it’ll arrive on shelves near you on October 27th. Susie was amazed at just how savvy her new target audience was. Many of these kids had grown up on her recipes, and possessed rather cultivated refined palates. This generation of teens and early twenties had choices we never had; they’ve grown up with a wide array of kosher fast food and fine dining choices; many of them developing knowledgeable health conscious preferences. The expansion of the kosher product landscape and the extraordinary array of new kosher products hitting supermarket shelves has made designing fresh new recipe ideas so much easier as a result.
Susie held 14 tasting parties for audiences of this demographic and was impressed with the sophisticated and intricate comments she received on the recipe evaluations. Desserts of course had big appeal, but taste testers were enthralled with almost all of the recipes included in the final version. Her upcoming book speaks to her young fans and tweenlings who want to get involved in the kitchen preparing fun, healthful, easy to make recipes. The new cookbook even includes markation features for vegetarian, gluten and nut free recipes.
Nowadays, most families have two working parents, three meals a day to put on the table; it’s a great gift for the kids to get involved in the kitchen preparing meals and lightening the load. I expect that we’ll love this new KBD entry, and can’t wait to be dazzled by the table-fare our kids will be easily preparing, as we relax –feet up-with our martinis after a long day at the office, waiting for the supper call. Hey, I can dream can’t I? But just think, we can send our young adults off to college, seminary, and their new apartments armed with a handy kitchen survival manual that will keep them happily healthfully engaged in Bistro Mio 101.
Taking full advantage of the moment, I asked Susie if she could give us a few pointers for the up-coming Yomim Tovim and how to avoid getting overwhelmed. Organization and advanced planning seemed to be the keys to success. Susie’s appreciates an artful elegantly set table. Don’t overdo the presentation by making too many dishes. Plan for a soup or salad, no more than two main dishes, a side dish and vegetable; end with an exciting delicious dessert at each meal. “You’re not looking to kill anybody at your table”; the courses should resemble service at a fine restaurant. “They don’t overwhelm you with tons of dishes, but rather serve singular aesthetic dishes that you’ll remember.” Prepare what you are comfortable with; tried and true recipes, with something new to add to the mix. Keep to fresh and healthy ingredients, don’t freeze, do your chopping and sauces in advance where possible, and have 80% of the food prepped and ready for the oven or stove. Don’t overcook; almost every culinary faux pas can be saved except for overcooking. Susie does her math, she takes the time to figure out how many 4- 6 ounce servings she’s going to need, so that she doesn’t overbuy or over prepare. “If you’ve put too much food on the table, people are going to eat more than they should.” With the four grand meals of Rosh HaShana plus Shabbat, it can really become too much of a good thing.
We look forward to reviewing Susie’s Kosher by Design Teens and 20-Somethings. Judging by the series popularity, by Susie’s passion for cooking and infectious enthusiasm I have no doubt it’ll be very successful. I’ll venture that even those of us a few days, or so, past the 20-somethings might also learn a thing or two.