Watch a video presentation of this community cookbook!
Where it all began
I got the idea for this book when I was living in rural Cambodia in 2018. I was inspired to incorporate local ingredients to make a high protein brownie Hamantaschen recipe for Purim. And I liked the recipe! But somehow, making a cookie which focused on the villain felt at odds with what I wanted to achieve.
I had the idea of creating a healthy Purim dish specifically to honour Esther. This recipe was a moment when several points joined together on my path as a Jewish woman working with, and eating, plant-based food. Cooking specifically for Esther gave more meaning to cooking for the holiday. I directed prolonged attention on one particular female character, deepening my knowledge of her story and in doing so creating a connection with her. As a result, both the process and the product of cooking became more nourishing.
A Community Creation
This is a community cookbook, a collection of chapters each devoted to one female biblical character, followed by two healthy recipes created specifically for her. Feeding Women of the Bible, Feeding Ourselves is the co-creation of Kenden Alfond and 40 Jewish women. The twenty biblical narratives are contributed by Rabbis, Rabbinical students, Jewish teachers and emerging thought leaders. The forty-one plant-based recipes were developed by professional chefs, and homecooks who are elementary school students, and great-grandmothers.
Twenty chapters You learn about the Hebrew biblical heroines through:
Their stories: a concise summary of the female biblical character’s narrative.
Verses: key quotations from the Hebrew Bible relating to the biblical character’s narrative. All quotations are from The Hebrew Bible: A Translation and Commentary by Robert Alter.
Themes: essential emotional, mental, physical, social themes that define the heroine’s narrative or role.
Midrash: a modern commentary, uplifting the voice of the biblical heroine without attempting to neutralise their imperfections, flaws or struggles.
Prompts: meaningful questions arising from her story, to inspire further reflection for women today.
Food Offerings: two plant-based recipes developed to honour the biblical heroines.
Educated insight and guidance One of the most special things about this book for me, is the opportunity to deepen understanding of our Hebrew Biblical heroines, thanks to the contributions of intelligent Jewish women who share their deep insight.
Bat Sheva Marcus guides us through the painful story of Dinah, who suffers a horrific sexual assault. It is hard to imagine a better guide for this story than Bat Sheva Marcus, who is one of the founders and the Clinical Director of Maze Women’s Sexual Health. A profile in the NY Times magazine dubbed her “The Orthodox Sex Guru.” Bat Sheva is a founder and past president of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance and has been involved in numerous local and national Jewish and feminist organizations. We are honoured to have her contribute her wisdom to Feeding Women of the Bible, Feeding Ourselves.
Just like The Jewish Food Hero Cookbook, as well as all the nourishing recipes on the blog, this cookbook features low or no oil, vegan and plant-based recipes to nourish our body and spirit. Recipes are contributed by a variety of Jewish women, from professional, acclaimed cooks and food writers, to grandmothers and highschool keen home-cooks. There is something for everyone here, with recipes such as a gently fermented bread and date beer inspired by Rahab, to Chinese tofu Matzo balls in Tianjin sweet and sour sauce for Zipporah.
Here are a couple of sneak peaks of the delicious food:
Leah Koenig’s Triple Almond Biscochos for Miriam
Leah is an extremely well-known and talented food writer and cookbook author. Her latest book is called Jewish Food is A rich trove of contemporary global Jewish cuisine, featuring hundreds of stories and recipes for home cooks everywhere. In Feeding Women of the Bible, Feeding Ourselves, Leah shares her recipe for a chewy and crunchy, vegan, gluten free cookies, shaped like the tambourine of dancing heroine Miriam.
Raspberry Lemon Meltaways by Jacqueline Landy
Founder of the dessert blog and Instagram account Baked By Jax, Jacqueline was just in eighth grade when she contributed her plant-based Lemon Meltaways for Rebekah. With a melting centre of shredded coconut and lemon peel blended with almond and coconut flour and agave, these eye catching and delicate treats are rolled in powdered freeze dried raspberries.
Kale with Horseradish Hemp Seed Dressing by Lauren Chandler
Lauren is a professional chef and cooking teacher and specialises in whole foods. Here, she offers Sarah this iron rich dish. A delicious, intensely flavoured and nourishing salad of lightly steamed kale, coated in an apricot and horseradish dressing, and topped with delicate pieces of amaranth popped like popcorn. This is a dish to wow guests with, or simply to enjoy for a midweek lunch or supper side dish.
Mushroom and Walnut Gardener’s Pie with Butternut Squash Topping by Jewish Food Hero Kitchen
To honor Deborah, the bee and the fragile balance of both justice and the natural environment, Jewish Food Hero offers this scrumptious gardener’s pie filled with a bounty of fall vegetables. It is a hearty pie filled with warm flavors and a ton of nutrients from the mushrooms, lentils, walnuts, butternut squash, and leeks.
I hope you will enjoy Feeding Women of the Bible, Feeding Ourselves, and that it will be an enjoyable tool to deepen understanding of our Jewish heroines, and to discover exciting new, healthy and nourishing dishes to honour them with.