Monday, October 8, 2007

Chat with Norene Gilletz

For more than 30 years, this amazing lady has frequently been in my kitchen. Well, okay...SHE hasn't actually been in my kitchen, but Second Helpings, Please! and The Pleasures of Your Processor certainly have. (I'm told Pleasures is now out of print - pity! The Food Processor Biblereplaces it, but I digress.)

You can see by cover - the plastic binding melted years ago - too close to the stove...and pages are lovingly covered in...well, whatever the ingredients of some of my favorite recipes.

Many people over the years have offered to buy me a new copy. Are they crazy?!!! And part with all the memories....

Sharron and Joanna making Challah...and

Sukkot without Roasted Tongue in BBQ Sauce - never going to happen. Joanna still keeps both traditions going. In fact, like my mother before me, I gave each of my girls a copy when they left home. Actually, Sharron just informed me that I never bought her one...that will be rectified very soon!

Enough personal background....let's get back to the present. Norene Gilletz, (in case you haven't figured that out) has 8 cookbooks under her belt with a brand new one Norene's Healthy Kitchen and I can't wait to get my hands on it. That will be a post for another day. She's an unbelievably busy lady as you can tell from her website - Gourmania. So it was a pleasure to have a chat with her. Here are some highlights...

R: How did you get into the cookbook business?
N: Well, I grew up in the kitchen, watching and helping my mother who was the best cook. I've always loved cooking and baking. And I belonged to B'nai B'rith Women (now called JWI – Jewish Women International). At the tea, it was suggested that we write a cookbook as a fundraising project. We thought it would take us 3 months to do. It took us over 3 years! SHP is still going strong after 40 years - unbelievable!

I never took a course until 1980 with Jacques Pepin, who taught me the most important lesson of don't really need to follow a recipe to the letter - just the technique.

R: Over the years, what's been people's favorite recipe of yours?
N: Tangy Sweet & Sour Meatballs from Second Helpings, Please!

R: And the most frequently asked question?
N: Really there are 3..."Can I freeze it?"; "How long can I leave it in the fridge?"; "What can I use instead of XYZ?"

R: What is your favorite meal? (*Actually, Norene listed a lot of options before settling on what I think is a terrific answer)
N: Whatever I'm eating is my favorite of the moment.

R: What is your favorite kitchen toy/gadget/utensil?
N: Hands down my food processor, followed by my microwave, Good Grips potato peeler, Zylus garlic press, a bread maker (I make yeast breads about 2 or 3 times a month)and ...really important...proper measuring tools.

R: What's always in your fridge?
N: Well I just got back from doing a book launch out west and visiting with my kids and grandkids, so there's not much in the fridge. Usually...I almost always have some kind of homemade soup in my fridge (lentil, vegetable barley or chicken). I hate canned soup. There are always leftovers of some sort because I cook large quantities to save time because of my busy schedule. And there’s always something good in the freezer.

R: What's your idea of comfort food?
N: (but not all at the same meal!) are scrambled eggs with a slice of kimmel or black bread, kasha and bow ties, salmon, oven-roasted vegetables, black cherry yogurt, a bowl of bean and barley soup…and dark chocolate!

My favorite quote: Favourite quote: Food that’s good for you should taste good!

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Mansi said...

wow, that looked like a nice chat Ruth! I've seen a couple of norene's books, so this post was a pleasure to read!

btw, pls find some time to aprticipate in AFAM-Peach hosted on my blog this month!:)

Truffle said...

Great chat! Such lovely memories too. Beautiful post!

Ruth Daniels said...

Thanks ladies, it was a great being with an old friend.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for our wonderful chat - it was such fun and I wish we could have done it in person. Hopefully we'll meet one day face-to-face instead of over a "virtual cup of coffee." I guess I'll have to do a cooking demonstration in Halifax!

I love the pictures on your blog of the tattered, torn and well-worn copies of Second Helpings Please and Pleasures of your Processor! The food stains show that you really use these cookbooks. I hope that you will enjoy the recipes and tips in my new book NORENE'S HEALTHY KITCHEN and that the pages will become stained, with your comments marked on the side.

Keep on cooking, keep on blogging! Glad we're also friends on Facebook.

I hope you and your foodie-friends visit my discussion group on Facebook: Norene's Kitchen -Here's Cooking at You!

Norene Gilletz
Toronto, Canada world revolves around recipes!

Anonymous said...

This interview is great! We have that very same book in my house, and it's just as old and disheveled :)

Anonymous said...

I've had Norene's The Pleasures of Your Food Processor for YEARS - I never even realized she had more books, or even a website, until I discovered your blog, Ruth. Thanks for opening my eyes to a whole new world of cooking. Great interview!

Ruth Daniels said...

And on top of being a great cook, she's a sweetie!