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Forward 50 2012

Deb Perelman

If you ask many a passionate home cook where the recipe for a particularly wonderful dish came from, you’ll often hear “Deb” uttered as though the name referred to a good friend. But the “Deb” these cooks cite is actually Deb Perelman, the author of the überpopular cooking blog Smitten Kitchen. Perelman has become one of the most recognizable and influential personalities of the home cooking world.

The blog, which started as a personal project when Perelman was working as a technology reporter in 2006, has grown into a website with around 800 recipes and countless stunning food photos that is read by 5 million cooks each month. Perelman’s approachable tone draws timid cooks to the kitchen and encourages those who are already avid cooks to push their boundaries.

While Perelman’s blog and her new book, “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook:Recipes and Wisdom from an Obsessive Home Cook,” are not explicitly kosher, they feature a large number of traditional Jewish recipes. “My cooking is equally influenced by that seasonal American idea, one third French/Italian and one third Eastern European Jewish cookery,” Perelman told the Forward. Her versions of traditional Jewish recipes often come with a modern twist — hamantaschen are stuffed with rhubarb compote, blintzes are wrapped around sweet potato and farmers’ cheese and challah is made with olive oil, sea salt and figs.

Through such delicious innovations, Perelman is taking Jewish food to new places and new people.

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