Leah Koenig and husband Yoshie on one of thier family hikes out of Brooklyn

Leah Koenig's Lockdown Life

Our Jewish Cookbook author has morphed into hiking guide and IT Girl, and has ensured the family eats together every night in this challenging time (she is SO looking forward to the most leisurely brunch ever. . . )

Leah Koenig, the author of The Jewish Cookbook, first started cooking at college when she lived in an environmental studies house - what she described to us last year as "a hippie co-op basically."

"We cooked for ourselves – 17 of us - every night and we rotated. People would drop by so we could be cooking for up to 30 people a night. I learned trial by fire!"

That early formative experience has come in useful of late as Leah, like many of us, has been trying to not only survive lockdown life but ensure that her young family thrives during the enforced together time. 

While other Phaidon creatives have been taking amazing photographs, or using the time to design furniture Leah has been cooking. A. Lot.  



The Jewish Cookbook
The Jewish Cookbook

"My husband and I are both freelancers so we are used to working from home. But having our two children (aged 5 1/2 and 1) home all the time has been a new challenge. Suddenly we are four people hanging out all day in a cozy Brooklyn 2 bedroom!

"In addition to our regular workloads, my husband and I are now running a full-time day care for the baby and playing tech support for the older kiddo's online school. There are many sweet moments, and we are so grateful for the together time, but it's....a lot.

"One way we manage is by having dinner at the same time every night - it provides a bit of structure and routine and a chance for us to check in about how everyone is feeling. And for a brief moment, as we connect around the table, everything feels normal.


Fish Tagine Couscous from The Jewish Cookbook
Fish Tagine Couscous from The Jewish Cookbook

"We have also been taking advantage of the surprising amount of green space in and nearby New York City - taking lots of hikes."

And what's the first thing Leah, whose recipes have appeared in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Saveur, to name just a few, plans to do when this is all over?

"When this lockdown ends, our friends are planning to meet at our favorite local cafe (currently just serving coffee and pastries on takeaway) for the longest, most leisurely brunch ever!" Until then we think Leah and her family will be more than OK with her own delicious chocolate rugelach, below.


Chocolate Rugelach from The Jewish Cookbook
Chocolate Rugelach from The Jewish Cookbook

Maybe you'd like to get a taste of what Leah's lucky kids have been eating? Her book The Jewish Cookbook, is the definitive compendium of Jewish cuisine, and introduces readers to recipes and culinary traditions from Jewish communities the world over. It's perfect for anyone looking to add international tastes to their table - be they traditional or contemporary interpretations.

The Jewish Cookbook also boasts a foreword by Julia Turshen, one of Epicurious's 100 Greatest Home Cooks of All Time.