The Parve Baker

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One of my favorite people is Jennifer Joseph, the publisher, editor-in-chief, and almost everything else behind the independent publisher Manic D Press. (Favorite recurring joke of Lawrence Ferlinghetti: “What does the D stand for?”) She’s been a hell of a mentor to me as a writer, and a great guide to me as a person. When I found out she had a sister, it was like finding out that one of your favorite books has a sequel.

the parve baker bakeryWhen I found out that the spoken-of sister, Rebecca Joseph, is both a rabbi and a cooking maven — well, it wasn’t surprise that caught me so much as giddiness. Of course she was going to be cool. But that she was going to be this cool, in this specific way, was particularly dope.

Which is how I arrived at Rabbi Joseph’s blog: The Parve Baker, a collection of more-or-less weekly recipes, a sporadic blog with the subtitle “No flour, no Torah; no Torah, no flour.” She gives great recipes with equally great photos, some of which are more-or-less expected (who doesn’t need a non-fried way to enjoy olive oil on Hanukkah?) and some that most people wouldn’t think of themselves (a great technique for recycling challah and making croutons, imo). She’s a fun but no-bullhonky writer with a knack for expressing her delight in the kitchen, and — with the occasional cameo in the comments section from our own Leah Koenig — she writes in a style that subtly nudges her texually-inclined sister to put out a paper version of her recipes, sooner or later.

My favorite part of the site is this page, “Torah Morsels,” which lists verses from each weekly Torah portion that cite food. This week, for the double-whammy parsha:

Acharei Mot – No person among you shall partake of blood, nor shall the stranger who resides among you partake of blood. (17:12)
Kidoshim – When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap all the way to the edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not pick your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger; I the Lord am your God. (19:9-10)

I don’t know about you, but it’s the best cooking advice I’ve gotten all week. Shabbat shalom!

Posted on May 1, 2009

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