A Jewish Baker’s Passion for Growing Things
Eating at a Meeting Podcast Episode 33
Ahuva Gottdiener of Homegrown Kosher’s goal is to bridge the food knowledge gap between ground and plate for her Orthodox Jewish community. She shares her fascination with the fundamentals through education, inspiration and connection. She also runs her sourdough microbakery, the Homegrown Kosher Bakery, to provide kosher certified artisan sourdough community to her local community.
Ahuva enjoys the nurturing of things, creating things and watching things grow. That includes vegetables, humans, chicken and sour dough starter. What started out as an Instagram account to share pictures of what she grows in her garden and the bread she made for her family has turned Homegrown Kosher into a certified kosher bakery, garden consultancy and more.
I found her on Instagram because of a picture of the bread she makes – it was a work of art!
What do safe, inclusive & sustainable food and beverage experiences look like to you?
As an Orthodox Jew who only eats strictly kosher food, I’d like to see kosher certified options (that aren’t just packaged chips) made more available in public places like Malls and theme parks. For example in the food court of a mall. Our local mall, the Palisades Mall which is a large mall near one of the largest orthodox Jewish communities in the world only recently finally allowed one Kosher restaurant to open. It has been open for over 20 years but they would not allow a kosher restaurant (which must be closed on Saturday, the Sabbath, and Jewish holidays by Jewish Law) to open until now, leaving many eating packaged chips or pretzels from target if we got hungry while at the mall.
Do you have an example of a situation that negatively effected you and/or other individuals or groups’ food and beverage experience?
More than once ( in the days when meals were served on airplanes) the kosher meals we ordered just weren’t there. We ended up eating pretzels or peanuts. We learned to always bring our own food along just in case.
Another example is at Walt Disney World, you can order “kosher meals”, they are prepackaged “airline meals” that are always tasteless, and either burnt or still partially frozen. We always just brought in our own food. But a large entertainment venue like Disney World could definitely dedicate a separate kitchen to kosher food and hire kosher chefs and kosher certification to be able to provide for their kosher keeping clientele.
What do you wish people knew about what you do?
That it’s hard work! A lot of what I do is create content to share different aspects of growing and preparing food. It takes time to photograph, write things up in a clear matter, film and edit videos, develop and write recipes and write blog posts. I also do garden consultations which is like life coaching for your vegetable garden, to help people plan their gardens. The 45-minute in-person consultation can easily become 3 hours or more of work on my end to prepare plans and clear instructions. Basically, a lot goes on behind the scenes!
What is your favorite food and your favorite drink?
My favorite drink is actually Honest Tea’s Half Tea & Half Lemonade. It’s just so good and not too sweet. My favorite food is “Krautchalet,” which is a traditional food, eaten on the Jewish holiday of Succos, from my mother’s grandmother’s family. She was a German Jew who escaped Germany before the Holocaust with her family. No other family that I can find seems to make anything like it so it may have been just her recipe. One day I need to learn how to make it. As much as I am an accomplished cook and recipe writer my mother still makes it for my for the Jewish Holidays!