Amy Steinhaus Kirwin and Rebecca Edana: “Two Jews Making Food,” Fun with Cooking and Vegetarian Kishka

Taste Buds with Deb - Episode 41
January 31, 2024
Amy Kirwin and Rebecca Edana (Photo by Tom Kochie)

Amy Steinhaus Kirwin and Rebecca Edana love to cook, eat and share their joy of cooking with others! Their show, “Two Jews Making Food,” now in its third season, began airing on ChaiFlicks in January.

“When you share food, you’re sharing a piece of yourself and [your] heart,” Edana told the Journal. “It’s a great way to connect with people and … to explain cultures.”

During the half-hour episodes, Steinhaus Kirwin and Edana share recipes for food and drink, based on their weekly theme; they also have a loved one Zoom in to share the Yiddish Lesson of the Day.

“Sometimes it’s my dad, it’s my mom, it’s Rebecca’s mom, it’s been a few other people here and there,” Steinhaus Kirwin told the Journal. “My dad … was the original. He’s 87 now, but he’s a poo-poo Kenahora, a good 87. He loves doing it.”

Note: ‘Kenahora” is the Yiddish Lesson of the Day on their Taste Buds with Deb episode, which you can watch on JewishJournal.com/podcasts.

“I love learning about Yiddish,” Edana said. “These words were really a part of my childhood. … Sometimes people are using them and they don’t even know what they mean, but they know that they’ve heard them and they know … the implied meeting, so it’s like a little bit of trivia.”

The “series” began in 2019, when the duo decided to cook a holiday meal together and livestream it.

“We figured it’d be funny to have people watch us while we’re cooking and ask us questions,” Steinhaus Kirwin said.

The broadcast lasted for two hours.

“Amy and I just had such a great time that we were like, we should keep doing this,” Edana said. “A lot of people are familiar with Jewish food, but I think there’s so much out there to share. It comes from so many different places, and so many people can relate to it.”

Adds Edana, “It created kind of a nice community that people felt like they could share that part. of their personality in a safe and comfortable place.”

Although they took a break from filming during the pandemic, the LA-natives now film at LTV Studios in East Hampton, NY (it’s a public access station).

“We tried to do the show with each other on Zoom and we would prop an iPad up like on a music stand, and that would be like the other person next to us,” Steinhaus Kirwin said. “And it was just a mess.”

In addition to the show, they do some live events in the community. The pair said the coolest part is people, who are not Jewish, will come up and say that a recipe reminds them of a food from their culture and upbringing.

“So many people can find they relate to the food and also that a wide variety of food,” Edana said.

Most people are familiar with Ashkenazi recipes (deli food, matzo ball soup, stuffed cabbage). However they have discovered that a lot of Middle Eastern/Sephardic Jewish food is a little less known, but “equally delicious and fun” to make.

“We’re not kosher, but we love food and we love stories and we love to learn,” Edana said. “The show was created in an effort to find out what is out there.”

“It’s not just Jewish cuisine; that’s why it’s not ‘Two Jews Making Jewish Food.’” Steinhaus Kirwin said. “It’sfood from our culture and sometimes it’s somebody else’s, and that’s where we find those similarities.”

One of their favorite recipes is Edana’s vegetarian kishka. The recipe is below.

“Everybody that eats it loves it,” Edana said. “And it’s so easy. It’s one of those things that you make it that you’re like, you have to be kidding me. That can’t be it”

Kishka is usually made with meat.

“It’s like our version of haggis; I love haggis,” Steinhaus Kirwin said.  “The vegetarian kishka is carrots, onion, celery and matzo meal, and then you make a loaf out of it.”

Whereas Edana is more methodical with her cooking (though she hates cleanup), Steinhaus Kirwin tends to use all the dishes when she cooks (and loves presentations).

“When I cook, I really enjoy experimenting,” Steinhaus Kirwin said. “When it comes to certain things, I’ll follow a recipe, but I really just like to make things up. I think I’m pretty good at identifying flavors that go well together and creating the perfect bite.“

Edana does like to make recipes that she is not familiar with.

“I want people to see that you don’t have to be scared; just make it,” she said. “Sometimes it’s going to be awful. Make it again and the next time it’ll be better.”

Follow @twojewsmakingfood on Instagram and learn more at TwoJewsMakingFood.com and ChaiFlicks.com.

Launched in August 2020, ChaiFlicks is the world’s largest streaming platform dedicated to Jewish storytelling. The platform has more than 2,500 hours of acclaimed films, television series, documentaries and short films, and is available on every major streaming device. “Schmoozing and Cruising” with CW Silverberg, previously interviewed on Taste Buds, is also on ChaiFlicks.

For the full conversation, listen to the podcast:

Watch the interview:

Here’s the Mandylicious Taste Buds Episode Edana mentioned in this episode.

Vegetarian Kishka

2 cups matzo meal

2 carrots

2 stalks of celery

1 onion, chopped

½ cup oil

1 egg, beaten

1 tbsp sugar

salt and pepper

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Put matzo meal in a bowl. Blend remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor.

Pour mixed ingredients into the bowl with the matzo meal and mix well.

Form into 2 long rolls.

Lightly oil 2 sheets of aluminum foil and place each roll in the foil and seal.

Bake for 45 minutes.

Slice and serve!

Debra Eckerling is a writer for the Jewish Journal and the host of “Taste Buds with Deb.Subscribe on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform. Email Debra: tastebuds@jewishjournal.com.

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