Bubbe and her grandson, Avrom Honig
Since I got engaged almost two years ago, I've been taking cooking lessons from my grandmas, who I call "Nana." In addition to teaching me to make some of my favorite recipes from growing up, these lessons are also intended to make me less inept in the kitchen now that I'm a married lady (though this is still yet to be seen). But most importantly, these lessons provide invaluable Nana bonding time.
As you can imagine, I perked up when a cookbook titled Feed me Bubbe: Recipes and Wisdom from America's Favorite Online Grandmother came across my desk. The book is written by Bubbe, and her grandson, Avrom Honig.
Immediately, I googled Bubbe and watched her first online show, where she taught her viewers how to make her famous Jelly Jammies. After just one episode, I could see why viewers were so entranced by Bubbe-her sweet nature, easy-to-follow recipes, and delicious looking food are likely to evoke memories of everyone's Bubbes.
So how did Bubbe, who finds herself with a new career in her 80s, get into the online cooking video business?
Honig, Bubbe's grandson, was struggling to find a job and make a successful demo reel. His father suggested he create a show about Bubbe's amazing food. "He gave me all these different names and I hated every single one of them," Honig said. "…He got angry at me and said, why don't you just call it 'Feed me Bubbe?'" Though his father was being sarcastic, Honig liked the name and called up Bubbe, who happened to be making Jelly Jammies at the time.
"It was quite an unexpected experience," Bubbe said, referring to Honig making a video in her kitchen and posting it on YouTube. "This was a brand new experience for me- whoever knew what email was? At my age do I need all this technology? And before you knew it we started getting feedback and also a call from BBC, they wanted an interview for a talk show…It just mushroomed unexpectedly until where we are today publishing a book."
In the book, which is number on one Amazon's Kosher Cooking list and received a gold "Mom's Choice" award, Bubbe shares 100 of her best recipes, intertwined with stories from her life and Yiddish words. The book is also a kosher guide, and symbols in the book indicate if a dish contains dairy, meat, is pareve, or for Passover. In writing the book, Bubbe began to understand that so many stories relate to food and she hopes people will view the book as more than a cookbook.
If a fortune teller had told her that this would happen to her, Bubbe said she wouldn't have believed it in her wildest dreams. Bubbe and Honig went on to create over 30 episodes of the show, which each feature a kosher recipe and teach a Yiddish word. Bubbe also answers emails, Facebook messages, and Bubbe 911 calls. She ends each episode by saying, "Ess gezunterhait," eat in good health. The show can now be seen online at www.feedmebubbe.com and on JLTV. Honig's production company, Chalutz Productions, produces the show out of Bubbe's kitchen.
"The most amazing thing about our show is no matter if you're from Florida, California, even Chicago, everyone looks at Bubbe as if they're looking at their own Bubbe, no matter where they're located," Honig said. Bubbe said she gets emails from younger people, asking her to adopt them as her grandchildren.
"…To some of them I became like a therapist...if they're asking me I'll give them what i would tell my grandchildren I will tell them and they seem to be so appreciative," Bubbe said. "I encourage them-don't worry if it doesn't come out good. They all needed a little bit of encouragement."
The biggest reward for Bubbe and Honig, is to get to work with each other. "It is such a grand pleasure," Honig said about working with his Bubbe. "This is a dream and say it over and over again, pinch me I cannot believe this is real.
"The one thing that this shows you is that when you go and you have something with decent values, people love [it]," Honig said. "This is what people want today especially with all the different trash television that's out there currently on television."
Bubbe had the following advice for newly married couples: "My first big meal, I burnt the pot roast. So, I want everyone to feel comfortable that it happens to all of us, but…a little trial and error brings good results and I want to give everyone encouragement. And for me, she said: "You will be very successful. The funny part of it is that all it takes is a little bit of trying and use your taste buds like an artist develops a painting."