February 22, 2019

A Very Queer Shabbos

“On a recent Friday morning, Jake Cohen could be found chopping rainbow carrots, watermelon radishes, orange cauliflower, and a pile of other heirloom vegetables to serve as crudités alongside bowls of sweet potato hummus. A 16-quart (read: enormous) stock pot brimming with Persian bean and noodle stew called ash e reshteh rested in the fridge. Also prepped and chilling: many pounds of brisket, sweet noodle kugel, the elaborate makings of several cheese boards, and a sheet pan of his signature sumac and sea salt-spiked brownies.

If it seems like a shocking amount of food, it was—Cohen was hosting 80 people that evening for a queer Shabbat dinner sponsored by the nonprofit OneTable. But for Cohen, a food writer (he currently works as the editorial and test kitchen director at Instagram’s feedfeed) and self-proclaimed “nice Jewish boy,” epic meals are a daily part of life.

Cohen is a lifelong New Yorker (he was raised in Queens and currently lives in Manhattan) and, at 25, a member of the Food Network generation—kids who grew up with televised food personalities as their rock stars. “I would come home from school and binge watch Ina and Giada before starting my homework,” he said. In high school he honed his budding kitchen skills by throwing dinner parties for friends. And when it came time for college admissions, he applied to just one school: the Culinary Institute of America. Fortunately, it all worked out.

Since then, Cohen has racked up accolades in the culinary and editorial fields that rival those of people twice his age. He spent time working at Daniel Boulud’s Michelin-starred restaurant Daniel and at ABC Kitchen before realizing that “life in a restaurant kitchen was not the right fit.” So he transitioned to food media, building up a bustling freelance career as a writer and recipe developer while holding a series of editorial positions at Saveur, Tasting Table, Time Out New York, and, most recently, feedfeed.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"Political leaders from all French parties, including former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, joined Jews and non-Jews in Paris’s Place de la Republique to condemn antisemitic acts."

"Eighty years ago tonight, thousands of Americans gathered in New York to rally behind the Nazi Party and its ideals. An Oscar-nominated short documentary retrieves footage of the event, but leaves out the context that gives it meaning."

"The PM has persuaded the religious-Zionist Jewish Home to partner with the Kahanists of Otzma Yehudit. It makes cynical political sense for his interests, but what of Israel’s?"

"IFC’s series Documentary Now! began as an affectionately parodic tribute to the classics of nonfiction cinema. Its first episode, “Sandy Passage,” was a note-perfect evocation of the Maysles brothers’ Grey Gardens..."

"Making our choices count is, however, far from straightforward, and this is the subject of Martin Hägglund’s book This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom."

"Teens in the United States are coming of age at a time when digital technology is truly ubiquitous, where smartphones are all of our “constant companions.”"

"...the Smollett story, if the “trajectory” leads to evidence of fakery, would actually reveal something else modern America is about: victimhood chic."

"Cool in the humanities isn’t that different from cool in other areas of cultural life, like planking, hotdog-legs photography, mason jar rehabilitation, and novels whose main character is a city."

"It’s true that high-octane, hardworking child-rearing has some pointless excesses, and it doesn’t spark joy for parents. But done right, it works for kids..."

"Cape Town in South Africa is a foodie destination. Some people in its renowned restaurant industry are trying to spread the food wealth citywide."

"...for many “space expansionists,” escaping Earth is about much more than dodging the bullet of extinction: it’s about realizing astronomical amounts of value by exploiting the universe’s vast resources to create something resembling utopia. "

"After facing persecution in the former Soviet Union and a new wave of antisemitism in the United States, Marya Zilberberg decides to put her Jewishness on display."