Austin, Texas-based Amy Kritzer started her blog, What Jew Wanna Eat, as a “much-needed” creative outlet in December 2010 to combine her love of Jewish food and cooking. The cheeky name of her blog alone draws readers in (c’mon, say it out loud! It’s fun!), and Kritzer has the playful personality to match. “I love to laugh, cook, play and throw a mean theme party,” she says. “I’m kind of quirky, but I also work hard and am passionate about what I do.” That much is evident: Her first cookbook, “Sweet Noshings: New Twists on Traditional Jewish Desserts,” came out in September; she is president of ModernTribe.com, a Jewish gift shop (hello, speaker gifts and room drop ideas!); and her incredible recipes for everything from Passover to Purim to Hanukkah will have you dropping everything to head to the kitchen.
What inspired you to start a blog that blends faith with food?
I’ve always loved Jewish food and cooking. When I decided to start a blog, I thought combining the two and making my own type of cuisine would be the perfect fit. It’s about making Judaism approachable and fun through food. I have readers of all religions who just love to eat great food.
How would you describe your blog in a nutshell?
I update classic Jewish recipes with a modern spin, in addition to stories, a little history and a bit about my life too.
Are there any special dietary restrictions people of Jewish faith follow?
Some, but not all, Jewish people keep kosher. The rules can be complex, but basically there is no shellfish, pork, or mixing milk and meat products. Food in general plays a huge role in Jewish life. Every holiday revolves around food, and there are symbolic dishes as well, such as matzo ball soup on Passover or latkes on Hanukkah. We start menu planning for a family event weeks in advance, and have plenty of food so no one goes hungry.
Have you ever been to a faith-based conference as an attendee? What about as a speaker?
I have spoken at many Jewish events about food and business, and also regularly do cooking demos.
Do you find cooking for and eating with others to be spiritual?
I love nothing more then cooking a big meal for friends and family and all enjoying it together. Food unites people. It triggers memories and creates new ones. I love how even the familiar scent of a family recipe can bring you back to a moment in time. It’s a calming and comforting feeling.