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Susan Kusel Recipe Historian

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In Conversation With Susan Kusel

Susan Kusel gave an exciting review of Jewish cookbooks; and classic to contemporary authors. Her breathe of knowledge was as measurable as the books she handpicked for the lecture, huge. She charmingly rummaged through her huge assortment of cookbooks spotlighting Jewish cuisine in its many dialects. Her assortment included, Jewish holiday baking cookbooks, and even an encyclopedia of Jewish food.

She spoke about the etymology of Jewish cookbooks and its authors. Family history and recipes passed down from mothers to daughters highlighted the conversation. The audience engaged Susan in conversations  about family traditions and how these tradition have evolved. The books covered everything from chicken soup, to matzah ball soup. The topic of crabmeat recipes brought about humorous laughter. Is it kosher? Vegan recipes are an enigma, but a topic in need of writing about. Yes, there are Gluten free Jewish recipes!

Her knowledge about the cookbook industry, as well as Jewish cookbooks piqued my curiosity! She travels to New York on occasion to browse books in mainstream book stores and Jewish book stores. What a wonderful trip that will be! She spoke about Joe Nathan’s cookbook, and how beautifully it is made.  It inspires one to cook!  

Practical tips for new authors writing their first books were helpful and gave a real-world view. One tip is to research your target market, those you which to inspire. Another tip, what genre of book will you write? Will you hire an agent? Which publisher should produce your book?

The “Thought” event was held at Temple Rodef Shalom, which has an extensive cookbook library. Susan enjoys helping people find the cookbook, which brings about curiosity. See the link “Susan Kusel, “In Conversation About Historical Jewish Cookbooks” to view the entire lecture.