Cooking and Baking

My Journey To Become A Cookbook Author (Part 1)

Melinda Strauss May 31, 2024

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Welcome to my new series on Kosher.com: My Journey To Become A Cookbook Author

Let’s begin with an introduction. My name is Melinda Strauss and I’m writing my debut kosher cookbook, Eat Jewish, which will be published in September 2025! I should really put that on a t-shirt and wear it every day, because I am feeling so proud. This book has been over 13 years in the making and I want to tell you all about it.

Why 13 years, you might be wondering? I started my kosher food blog, Kitchen Tested, in January 2011 and my goal was to encourage people to try something new in the kitchen. I’ve always loved eating unique foods, and even as a child growing up in Seattle, I ate cow’s tongue, sweetbreads, and anything else my Savtah would make for us. Sure, I was still picky and wouldn’t eat the ptitim because my Savtah would mix in roasted vegetables, but don’t worry, I’ve grown out of that. The only thing I still won’t eat are olives. I just can’t get myself to like them. 

I started my blog with recipes like Gushers-stuffed meatballs, coconut mock-shrimp, liver and onions, and homemade taffy that did not go as planned. My first viral recipe was the birthday cake I made for myself in May 2011, a dairy-free rainbow layer cake inspired by Martha Stewart, and that was when I realized this blog had potential to impact a lot of people.

Twice a week, I would post new recipes to my website and share them to every social media platform available to me (at the beginning it was Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest). The pictures weren’t always great, but the food was always delicious!

I was consistent with posting and learned along the way how to take better pictures, how to write more accurate recipes, how to build a blogger community, and how to get my name out there. I didn’t wait until everything was perfect before I started because I knew then I would never actually start. That work ethic has kept me on track through many different job titles and social media platforms, and even though my voice has grown and changed, my love for sharing kosher recipes has stayed with me. 

While my blog recipes started off as a way to challenge myself to try new foods and sometimes even get a little patchke and crazy, there has been a huge revolution in the way that I share kosher food.

TikTok Account

My TikTok channel and my love for Jewish education have broadened my audience to both Jews and non-Jews who are eager to learn about our culture, our traditions, and our history. Sharing foods from my Ashkenazic roots and from the Turkish community I grew up in has given me the opportunity to teach people about Judaism through food.

That is what Eat Jewish is all about!   

This series isn’t just about my cookbook, though I will definitely be sharing the behind the scenes steps to secure a publisher and write recipes that I am so proud to share. We will also talk about Instagram and TikTok, for those of you curious about what it’s like to be a content creator and how social media has played such an important role in my food career. We’ll discuss how to connect to food through memories and traditions; through sounds, smells, tastes; and how we can continue to pass down those traditions.

And I want to be able to answer all of your questions, so let’s keep this an open conversation!

Find me on Instagram at @kosherdotcom or @therealmelindastrauss and ask away!