Nosh vegan cookbook has an Alberta connection!

By Regan Treewater-Lipes

(AJNews) – When Micah Grobman Siva, a proud Calgarian born and raised, made the conscious personal decision to become a vegetarian at age thirteen, it began a unique and creative culinary adventure that has shaped her life and career. “I got into cooking largely because of my mom and grandmother,” Siva described in a recent phone interview with Alberta Jewish News. “Cooking together was such a big part of our family, and Jewish holidays were always celebrated at our house with lots of food.”  For Siva, food is symbolic and a means of expression. “So many of my most cherished memories surround food, preparing it, and meals shared with loved ones.”

Micah Siva grew up in Calgary before her talents in the kitchen took her to New York for cooking school; her skills then launched her onto the London food scene for work, and she now writes a popular food blog Nosh with Micah, from her Bay Area home in California. In addition to providing her professional consultation regarding nutrition, Siva has recently published a must have cookbook fusing the best of healthy fruits and veggies with the traditions of classic Jewish Bubby’s kitchen.  Nosh: Plant-Forward Recipes Celebrating Modern Jewish Cuisine, with a forward by Adeena Sussman, has been a labour of love for Siva, who has spent decades perfecting her repertoire of vegetarian Jewish recipes and Jewish inspired culinary innovations.

“Every night we came together and ate dinner as a family. Food has always been a huge part of identity for me,” she explained.  “My grandmother didn’t always understand vegetarianism, but meals are a shared experience, and I started to make versions of Jewish classics, just without meat. In high school I would even host dinner parties with multiple courses.” Siva is quick to emphasize that people should break free of their preconceptions of vegetarianism. “I think people don’t realize how delicious vegetables are and all the flavors that can be achieved with them,” she pronounced with conviction.

After her grandmother, with whom she spent countless hours cooking, passed away, Siva worked through her sorrow and loss through food. “It happened right before Rosh Hashanah, and I was in London unable to make it home in time for the funeral,” she explained. “I was overcome, and I was so far away from family.”  Needing to find an outlet for the flood of grief, Siva spent the entire day making kreplach, just as she had done so many times with her grandmother. “She would make her kreplach with bits of brisket inside; I filled mine with sauteed onions,” Siva elaborated.

A great number of Siva’s recipes in the new cookbook are vegan, but some do include cheese. “I’m not here to convince anybody to become a vegetarian,” she declared with conviction. “That’s a personal choice, and I’m not going to tell people what to eat or not to eat. But I do want people to see that being a vegetarian and still feeling connected to Judaism is possible – and quite delicious.”  Siva, who now has her own family to prepare Jewish holiday feasts for, feels deeply that sharing traditional and holiday foods together will always culminate in a meal attached to cultural significance. With the help of her new cookbook, integrating vegetarian and vegan family members into the joy of celebratory feasting has become more inclusive than ever. “The book provides options that are really yummy and you get the feeling of brisket or gefilte fish, so you’re able to share in the experience of everyone else at the table.”

“These aren’t just foods that vegetarians enjoy – they’re for everyone.  One of the wonderful things about the book is that it provides excellent parve options that people maintaining a strictly kosher home can easily and confidently incorporate at their table.  If the menu is lacking side dishes, no worries!  I have some awesome salads and side that will complement any main,” explained Siva.

With Pesach just around the corner, Siva’s book makes an excellent addition to any Jewish household and is sure to provide some inspiration to jazz-up the Seder table.  “Being connected to Judaism and identity is so crucial within my own life,” Siva noted.  “Food is a central part of that, and just because I am a vegetarian doesn’t mean I lose out on any of the richness or togetherness of holidays.”

Regan Treewater-Lipes is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter.

Be the first to comment on "Nosh vegan cookbook has an Alberta connection!"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.