Please welcome Rivki Silver for today’s reader interview. Rivki is married and the mother of two little boys, and lives in Cleveland. She spends her free time (ha) teaching piano lessons; writing, arranging and performing music; and blogging at Life in the Married Lane.
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- Please describe your mother’s cooking style. Dinner at my parents’ house wasn’t particularly memorable, since my mom really doesn’t like to cook. She’s a baker at heart, but cooking, not so much. So her style was basically “eat to survive,” though she did prefer whole grains, and junk food was kept to a bare minimum. Now that I have a family of my own, I really appreciate how she kept us healthy, even though she didn’t care for the kitchen much.
- How does your style differ from your mother’s? Well, we’re very different as far as how much we enjoy cooking. I love cooking and can often be found in the kitchen. When I’m able to, I love to make semi-elaborate dishes, stuff with lots of steps and ingredients, and she wouldn’t ever even try to make them. She enjoys eating them, though! Our styles are similar when it comes to choosing the healthier alternatives.
- What is your favorite cooking gadget? I love my immersion blender. Love it. It has a chopper attachment and I use it constantly. It’s so much more convenient than my food processor when I’m making smaller amounts.
- Do you entertain? What is the biggest event you have hosted to date? I wish I entertained more. At this stage in my family’s life we don’t have many guests. I’m looking forward to next year, when my husband is done with his training and we can have many, many guests! My biggest meal to date would be when my brother-in-law’s family comes for the Shabbat. They have six kids, but they eat very little, so I don’t think it really counts.
- Please describe a weekly menu. Weekly we usually have Shabbat leftovers on Sunday, and Monday/Tuesday is a big crockpot meal. I’ll make a hearty soup, stew, or chili, and sometimes a meat dish. Wednesday will be fish or vegetarian, and Thursday is typically a dairy meal (noodles and shredded cheese is the standard). My husband prefers to have some sort of grain at the meal, so I alternate between rice and pasta, and I try to make a salad with at least every other meal. It depends on how much time I have to prepare.
- How has your cooking style changed over the years? My style has evolved a lot. When I was in college, I ate a lot of ramen noodles and mac ‘n’ cheese. Not exactly the healthiest diet! My husband comes from a very health-conscious family, which I love. It has helped me become the cook I wanted to be, but wasn’t motivated enough to do on my own. Now I’m careful about which packaged foods I buy, I try to avoid high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, growth hormones, and in general, things I can’t pronounce or recognize. However, I also try to balance that with saving money and keeping the shopping trips simple (crucial as I’m usually taking at least on of my boys along with me). I also used to be glued to my cookbooks, terrified to deviate from the recipe. Now I’m much more comfortable with modifying a recipe, or even just making something up based on the ingredients I have on hand.
- What cookbooks or website have inspired you? Hmmmm, good question. I wish I had healthier cookbooks, so I won’t recommend the ones I actually own! I’m constantly adapting the recipes to be healthier. I like to just Google ingredients sometimes if I have something in the house which I don’t know what to do with. It’s led me to some interesting recipes and sites, none of which I can actually remember, though. I guess I’ve been inspired through friends and experience to just experiment on my own, and to trust my instincts. It usually works out well (though sometimes it’s been a disaster).
- Which posts on Cooking Manager have you enjoyed? Any suggestions for future posts? I think a better question would be what posts I haven’t enjoyed! I like learning about ways to save, and tips for cooking with babies, and how-tos. I’d love to really understand how to use my cooling rack. And how the Osem mini Croutons are so yellow without any coloring.
- What is the most unusual dish you have ever made? When I was pregnant, I made an omelet with chocolate chips. I wouldn’t recommend it.
What is the oldest item in your kitchen? The newest? Well, the oldest thing in my kitchen is only three years old, which is still pretty new! The newest thing I have is probably the new peeler I got a month ago, since my “old” one finally gave out on me. I really enjoy peeling vegetables now! It’s a breeze!
- What would you like to change about your cooking style in the coming year? I would like to continue to improve the health content of my cooking, and to add a few new go-to recipes to my somewhat monotonous routine. I’m hoping that your site will help me with that!
- Please share a recipe or cooking tip. I love parchment paper. It’s my favorite cooking trick. I use it when I’m pounding chicken to make shnitzel, which makes it a much cleaner process. I use it when I’m baking cookies, which makes transferring them to a cooling rack a snap, and keeps my cookie sheets nice and clean. I use it when I’m roasting eggplant in the oven, again, with the easy cleanup. If I can find an application for it, I do.
Hannah, for asking me! It was fun answering your questions. :) You know, I discovered CM through an interview with Katie Chana Harris. What a treat to be able to share you with my readers.
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