Community Events

Susan Kusel | Recipe Historian

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In Conversation With Susan Kusel

Susan Kusel gave an exciting review of Jewish cookbooks. Her breathe of knowledge was as measurable as the books she handpicked for the lecture.  She charmingly rummaged through her vast assortment of cookbooks spotlighting Jewish cuisine in its many dialects. The books 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 discussions about family traditions and how these traditions 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 discussion. 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 and Jewish book shops. What a wonderful trip that will be?!

Her tips for new authors writing their first books were helpful. She gave a real-world view about the peaks and the challenges about entering the industry. One suggestion is to research your target market, and the audience you wish to inspire. Another tip, what genre of the book will you write? Will you hire an agent? Which publisher should produce your book?

The “Thought” event took place at Temple Rodef Shalom, which has an extensive cookbook library. Susan enjoys helping people connect with cookbooks, and encouraging curiosity. See the link “Susan Kusel, “In Conversation About Historical Jewish Cookbooks” to view the entire lecture.