Bubbe Brings Charm of Traditional Jewish Cooking to Woonsocket
84-year-old YouTube sensation makes stop at Congregation B’nai Israel.
“It’s really telling that the general public is appreciating Bubbe, no matter what their background is,” said Avrom Honig, the grandson of the 84-year-old Jewish woman, known simply as “Bubbe,” who has brought Kosher cooking to the masses.
At a presentation at Congregation B’nai Israel Wednesday night, the pair ruminated on the success of Feed Me Bubbe, their online cooking show and Kosher cookbook. What started out in 2006 as a experimental project with Honig taping his grandmother making her favorite dishes, brought the pair international popularity after the YouTube videos went viral.
Their new book, Feed Me Bubbe: Recipes and Wisdom from America’s Favorite Online Grandmother has won the Gold Mom’s Choice Award for Biographies and Memoirs and was recently awarded Best Kosher Cookbook of 2011. Amazon rated Feed Me Bubbe #1 Bestseller in the Kosher category. Stories on Bubbe have appeared in The Boston Globe, ABC World News, the Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, and in a PBS FRONTLINE documentary, entitled Digital Nation.
“I find the major audience is 20-40 year-olds, just starting out on their own,” said Bubbe. The project seems to have filled a void for many young people who want to learn to cook, but are afraid to ask some of the basic questions they need to get started. With charm and humor, Bubbe teaches cooking the way only a grandmother could, patiently explaining even the most basic concepts. “The book literally has the definition of the word bake,” she said. “I hope to encourage everyone and to give them the joy of cooking.”
Honig, who has a communications degree from Worcester State College, realized the marketing potential of the online shows early on and is credited with using his internet savvy to take the project to the next level. Feed Me Bubbe has 2,603 Facebook followers and, thanks to Honig’s coaching, Bubbe herself has written 363 tweets. At feedmebubbe.com, fans can find recipes, watch videos and even learn Yiddish.
The pair said that they originally had no interest in creating a cookbook, but responded to the demand of their audience. When deciding how to structure the publication, they turned to their Facebook followers. “Ok time to play the who should be on the back of the book game. Any celebrities that you feel we should try to reach out and see if they will leave a comment on the back of the book? Post them as you think of them!” Bubbe wrote on the social networking site on Dec. 14, 2011.
Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island set up Wednesday night’s event, which included a sampling on some of Bubbe’s most popular dishes, prepared by members of the congregation.
The ever-humble Bubbe does not give out her name and would only tell the audience she’s from “a town in New England.” She prefers simply to be thought of as “everyone’s Bubbe” and to bring her culinary knowledge to those who can benefit from it.
“It’s to give young people the encouragement they need to go ahead and cook food.”
Check out Feed Me Bubbe on YouTube, attached above or catch the program on Jewish Life Television at http://www.jltv.tv/home.php.