Jamie Geller, author of “Joy of Kosher,” started a new life in Israel Tuesday, after years of being a highly successful US journalist and TV producer.
In an interview with the Jewish Forward several days before leaving the United States, Geller, a household name in thousands of Jewish homes, revealed that she was “a disaster on wheels in the kitchen” when she married.
“Basically when I grew up my mother had a dream for me to be the first Jewish woman president of the United States,” she told interviewer Katherine Martinelli.
“When I got married, my husband was like ‘what’s for dinner?’ …I was a disaster on wheels in the kitchen. I had gotten all of these kitchen contraptions for our wedding, like a food processor with a video of how to use it… I started making these 911 calls to people in my husband’s family who are all amazing cooks, and they came over and cooked with me. And whatever they thought was easy, I made them easier and easier. And it tasted good!”
A former journalist for CNN, she came up with the idea of “Joy of Kosher,” which started out with a blog and blossomed into a book and a full-blown business.
Geller was raised in a Jewish home in Philadelphia but not as an orthodox Jew. She recalled that she studied in Israel for one year during high school and told her mother, “I want to live here…this is home.”
She plans to continue her career in Israel, where she has discovered she has many followers.
Geller told Martinelli that she is not worried about missing any foods or ingredients in Israel, where virtually all supermarkets are kosher and where shelves art stocked with almost everything one would find outside the country.
“I like that [Israeli] food itself is so much riper and more flavorful,” she said in the interview. “It’s healthier cooking. It’s farm to table, and I’m not talking in the trendy sense, I mean there’s literally less time from the farm to your plate, it’s that much fresher…
“I think that Jewish food is the original fusion cuisine because we’ve been scattered throughout the four corners of the earth and the Diaspora, and we’ve really melded them with the flavors of our host country. Israel is the ultimate melting pot for the Jewish people, you have every type of Jewish person there from north African to Russian, whatever, so I feel like it’s incredible to see what that brings and be exposed in the most authentic way."