Skip To Content
Forward 50 2015

Leah Koenig

The best food writing isn’t only about food. It’s about considering the world — a community, a region, a country — at a moment in time, through its flavors, textures, ingredients, cooking methods and dining traditions.

That’s exactly what Leah Koenig, 33, achieved this year with the publication of her second cookbook, “Modern Jewish Cooking: Recipes & Customs for Today’s Kitchen” (Chronicle Books). Her first was published in 2011.

“I wanted this book to really be a snapshot of who the Jewish community is today,” Koenig told the Forward earlier this year.

She achieved that goal by grasping the direction Jewish cooking is taking — a trajectory that follows what Koenig has experienced in her own kitchen. She’s a leader in a generation of Jewish chefs, farmers and food producers who “are not afraid to infuse history with a sense of innovation — to incorporate global flavors and fresh, seasonal ingredients into the mix,” she wrote in the book’s introduction.

Koenig lives in Brooklyn with her husband and baby boy and writes for publications including Saveur, The New York Times and the Forward, where she’s a columnist and contributing editor. Since “Modern Jewish Cooking” was published in March, she’s also spent a lot of time on the road, offering cooking demos of the book’s recipes, which include twists on classics. Think jalapeño-shallot matzo balls.

“I kind of put it through the test of would my grandmother recognize this, and would my 21-year-old cousin also think it was interesting,” she said.

Mission accomplished.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.