April 8, 2013

Step Aside Mom, Magazine Recipes Carry the Day this Passover

NEW YORK — For thousands of housewives, preparing for Passover 2013 meant planning 10 major meals in the span of eight days, no small challenge for even a professional chef. But unlike earlier generations where mom and grandma were the primary sources for recipes, the housewives were armed with chock-full of recipes, courtesy of such major Orthodox Jewish magazines as Binah, Ami and Mishpacha, each of which published special supplements with recipes and meal planners for the Passover holidays. 

In addition, Leah Schapira, author of the bestselling Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking, teamed up with noted food editor Victoria Dwek to produce a special kosher cookbook for Passover. Many retailers noticed the trend as more shoppers sought ingredients for the recipe. Sure, Mom can offer the basic recipe for fish, chicken or soup, but the new-aged recipes, say the retailers, were all about product enhancement. One woman said that she was preparing no less than 8 different varieties of chicken so that “my family doesn’t get bored of chicken.” Fresh produce managers said that vegetables were practically flying off shelves as shoppers sought to increase their salad variety to perhaps minimize weight gain. 

What is clear is that the magazines, social media, features like Joy of Cooking by Jamie Geller, and special cookbooks by yeshivas and other not-for-profit organizations helped soaring sales this Passover which in some markets approached 20% over 2012. Yet, say the retailers there was also an increased focus on health as gluten-free products did extremely well. For the 60,000 Jews who left their homes for hotels, they no doubt ate well thanks to seasoned chefs, but for the tens of thousands who stayed home, they too ate well, thanks to the magazines et al.