Authors are fascinating and important people. I also admit that as a publicist, I am biased. However, it is important to remember these are the people who actually have dreamed of a book and published it. I always say “Mazel Tov” to an author when they contact me. I explain that just getting the book out is worthy of being acknowledged. If authors didn’t stick to it and actually publish their books, what would the world be like? It is not a pretty thought.
I work with authors every day. They are often unsung heroes, many times well known. Some are confident of success, others quite doubtful. But they all share the success of publishing their books. Their experiences are interesting and often quite helpful to others. With that in mind I am going to offer occasional interviews here with published authors. I will usually focus on people who are or have been clients. I am confident that their reflections and experiences will be of interest to many and might just help the person writing a book right now or an author wondering how to make their book a success.
For our initial interview I am excited to introduce Orly Ziv who is a culinary tour guide from Tel Aviv, Israel. A lifelong food lover, Orly worked for many years as a clinical nutritionist before launching her company Cook in Israel in 2009 where she offers culinary tours around Israel and intimate cooking classes in her home. Orly’s first book Cook in Israel: Home Cooking Inspiration has received wonderful reviews and has been selling well in the US and Israel. A quick look at the reader reviews on Amazon and the excitement of readers is obvious. I have had the honor of being the publicist for Cook in Israel and it has been a terrific process (plus the preserved lemons recipe is amazing!).
Orly, what made you decide to write a cookbook?
I’ve been asked several times by my guests about a cookbook of my own. I was encouraged to do it by one of my guests who is a chef from California who told me “just do it” so I did! I also wanted to leave some of my recipes as a legacy to my children.
What vision did you have in mind when you set out to write the book? Did the finished book match that? How long did it take?
I had in mind to bring out the inspiration of the Israeli melting pot through cultures and flavors and of course my personal home cooking based on my family’s preference and my personal taste. I included all the recipes I teach in my classes that are successful and added recipes for Jewish holidays. I wanted to emphasize daily home cooking and easy to make recipes with a short list of ingredients and very simple, easy to follow instructions. My vision is to use ingredients as everywhere else but the spices and the cooking techniques we use are different and this what makes it Israeli. My vision was also to bring the flavors of Israel to the world and to introduce Israel to more people through our food, culture and flavors.
The finished book matches exactly what I had in mind. It took 6 month to work on the book.
What surprised you while writing the book? Is there anything you would do differently?
What surprised me is how easy it can be when you follow your vision.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to publish a cookbook?
Make sure to have a personal touch in your book and include added value for the readers. My added value is the simplicity of preparing the recipes and the inspiration of the flavors. For example, including a recipe for a typical Israeli salad with the addition of avocado and pomegranate seeds is an unusual combination which makes for a really nice difference.
Now that your book is published, how have you found the experience? What is it like to see your book in stores? On Amazon?
It is exciting to see my cookbook in the stores and also to know that the book now has a life of its own. Marketing and bringing the book to the knowledge the readers is the hard work.
What have been some of the most effective methods for promoting your book?
Reviews, Facebook and email marketing.
What are 3 food tips you can offer people for Passover?
If you like almonds there are delicious cakes you can make based on almond meal.
Look for flourless cakes instead of trying to substitute the flour in regular cakes.
I always prefer bake instead of frying.
Can you please share a recipe which you didn’t include in your book?
Sure! Chocolate and Almonds Cake great for Pesach (Passover). Recipe below.
A Personal Recipe from Orly Ziv
Chocolate & Almonds Cake
Kosher for Passover
200 gr. chocolate chopped
200 gr. butter
200 gr. ground almonds
1 cup sugar
5 eggs separated
- Heat the oven to 1800C (3500F).
- Melt the chocolate with the butter.
- Mix gently into the melted chocolate the yolks and the almonds.
- Beat the whites with the sugar until a firm foam is created.
- Fold gently the beaten whites into the chocolate almonds mixture.
- Bake about 30 min until a toothpick inserted in the center comes up clean.
We purchased the book after we saw it on Stuart Schnee’s facebook page. It looked interesting and I was looking for a cookbook using local products. I made thie stuffed bell peppers and my husband said it was delicious (without my asking). This is a high compliment as my husband usually says its okay if I ask his opinion. Several of the salads have become regular Shabbat fare. Thank you so much for creating this cookbook.