Taking out the takeout from your diet with a new cookbook
September 11, 2012 | Jewish Tribune
Davida Ander Correspondent
Lévana Kirschenbaum is a very busy woman. Timers beep in the background and pouring and mixing sounds can be heard as she describes her new cookbook over the phone from New York. Kirschenbaum says she’s experimenting with a gluten-free brown rice dish, but assures that she can multitask.
Her book, similarly, does many things at once. Kirschenbaum presents her mindset for shopping, eating and dieting, along with many delicious recipes in her fourth cookbook, The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen. She explains that she is not just in the business of cooking; she is also in the business of cooking up a philosophy.
“You could be eating something delicious. That’s my motto. You could be eating something fantastic right now at a fraction of the price, if only you were not always told repeatedly, ‘don’t bother, we can make it for you more delicious,’” she said.
A disregard in the Western world for healthy, home-cooked food surprised Moroccan-born Kirschenbaum when she arrived in America.
“I was shocked that somebody made me a cup of coffee by microwaving a plastic cup for a minute, adding a little Sanka, a little Sweet’n’Low and a little non-dairy creamer and called it coffee. Everything was wrong about it.”
Instead of working in psychology, which Kirschenbaum had studied, she began developing her own recipes and offering cooking classes. She soon opened up a restaurant in Manhattan’s Upper West Side called Levana Restaurant with her husband and two brothers-in-law.
Kirschenbaum served as co-owner of the restaurant for the 32 years it stayed open.
Meanwhile, she published four cookbooks; her most recent being The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen, which she calls her magnum opus.
Indeed, it is hard to flip through this attractive hardcover without salivating. Equipped with more than 350 recipes, 72 pages of photographs and colour-schemed sections, The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen scores points for presentation. Recipes are sorted into three indexes: the general index, the gluten-free index and the Passover index.
The recipes are diverse and simple to follow, with many helpful variations and tips along the way. One very inviting section – One, two, and turmeric – combines two ingredients with the antioxidant yellow power, turmeric.
In the coming weeks, an e-book by Kirschenbaum containing food-centred stories will be published. In the near future, all of her cookbooks will be available electronically.