If you know one thing about millennials, it’s probably that they love fresh, new, exciting food. The same can of course be said for the kosher millennial—they just need to get a little extra creative. Enter Chanie Apfelbaum of Busy in Brooklyn, food blogger, kosher millennial, and now cookbook author. Her new cookbook, Millennial Kosher: recipes reinvented for the modern palate, published by Artscroll Shaar Press, is out today and we couldn’t wait to learn more! We sat down with Chanie to talk about millennial food culture, the pressures of food blogging, and how this cookbook truly has something for everyone!
Kosher.com: Millennial Kosher sounds amazing! Love the title! Tell us more about your food style and how it’s “millennial”?
Chanie Apfelbaum: I love breathing new life into old classics by putting a modern spin on them, whether it’s changing up the flavors with trendy ingredients, using healthier non-dairy alternatives, or putting a fun twist on a traditional dish.
K.com: You’ve been blogging for a while now and sharing recipes with your many fans—how did you decide which recipes to publish in your cookbook?
Chanie: It wasn’t easy! When people ask me for my favorite recipes, I always say it’s like asking who my favorite child is. Can you really pick one? When it comes to my blog though, there are some standout dishes that have become the most popular over time. I only incorporated a small percentage from the blog, because I had so many new recipes I wanted to share too.
K.com: What sets this cookbook apart from other kosher cookbooks on the market?
Chanie: You won’t find any traditional recipes in the book—like chicken soup and potato kugel. I’ve incorporated an entire chapter of meatless meals, a chapter on savory snacks, as well as many recipes inspired by international cultural cuisine throughout the book.
K.com: How do you balance cookbook writing, blogging, and family life?
Chanie: It’s not easy! I learned over the past year to ask for help and to be more organized. I’m a perfectionist by nature, and my motto is always “if you want something done right, do it yourself,” but we can only extend ourselves so far, so I’ve learned to let go (if only a little!).
K.com: How do you stay up to date with millennial food trends?
Chanie: Reading food magazines, following trendy food-related Instagram accounts, and surfing through other popular food blogs.
K.com: What has inspired your culinary journey?
Chanie: I came to food as a means of creative expression. I’ve always been one of those people who jumped from one hobby to another, but something about food blogging just stuck. It incorporated so many of my interests into one and forced me to channel my creativity into a niche.
K.com: What are some of the challenges millennial foodies face in the kitchen and how does your cookbook help solve them?
Chanie: I think lots of people are interested in broadening their horizons and trying new things, but they just don’t know where to start or how to use some of the new ingredients that are available on the kosher market these days. One of the first chapters in my book describes how to set up a Millennial Kosher Kitchen with tools, equipment, and ingredients that will help streamline the process for modern day cooks.
K.com: How do you think social media has changed the way people cook?
Chanie: I think it’s forced people to be innovative in the kitchen and up their game as far as presentation. Everyone wants to post the most Instagram-worthy photo of their dinner, so they go the extra mile to plate it up nicely. When it comes to holidays (and there are so many!) everyone wants to come up with the most viral hamantaschen for Purim or donuts for Chanukah, so they’ve got to up their game!
K.com: What impact does your food blog and Instagram have on the way you personally cook?
Chanie: When kosher food blogs started to become popular, I put a lot of pressure on myself to keep coming up with the most innovative ideas and outdo the ones from previous years. Now that I’ve been blogging for 7 years, I learned to find my groove and just do it organically because it’s something I love. If I’m not up to making dinner, I’m happy to share my store-bought pizza on my Instagram account because I think more than anything, people relate to real-life. They appreciate authenticity—whether it’s a recipe FAIL, a store-bought dinner, or a 2 ingredient fix.
K.com: What is your favorite mashup from the cookbook that will surprise us?
Chanie: Oh gosh, so many! I think the one I’m most proud of is the twist I did on the bundt pan rotisserie chicken from my blog. You’ll have to order the book to find that out, but let’s just say, you don’t need any special equipment to make the recipe!
K.com: Which recipe do you think people will make over and over again?
Chanie: I love to play around in the kitchen, but I also have days where I’m not in the mood, and I just need to get dinner on the table fast! I really wanted to incorporate a balance of both types of recipes, because we all have our days. Most people tend to patchke more for the holidays, and want to keep everyday dinners simple. I believe that recipes like my Maple Chili Sheet Pan Chicken, Everything Bagel Tuna Patties, Deli Pasta Salad, Lazy Mechshie Meatballs, and Mile High S’mores Pie will become family staples. They are in my house!
K.com: What are your go-to ingredients that all home cooks should have in their pantry?
Chanie: I would be impossible to limit it to a short sentence (I have an entire chapter dedicated to that!), but some of my favorites are Imagine No-Chicken broth, sriracha, Spectrum refined coconut oil, Frescorti marinara sauce, Al Arz tahini, and Mina spicy harissa.
Chanie’s exciting new cookbook, Millennial Kosher: recipes reinvented for the modern palate, is now on sale!