Hillel cookbook to provide a new kind of college survival guide

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Spinach basil baked ziti, a recipe featured in the cookbook. Dena Gershkovich/Mitzpeh.

By Hannah Davidson
For Mitzpeh
@hhannahdavidson

By the end of the school year, Jewish students at this university will have a new way to connect to one another: a cookbook. 

Compiled by students Dena Gershkovich and Arianna Kigner Prince, the cookbook will feature holiday, dessert, Friday night dinner and lunch recipes from a wide range of students.

“It’s a mix of things students have made up and then a mix of some things that people found online and edited a little themselves,” Prince said.

Prince, a senior general biology major, came up with the idea this summer. She wanted to provide a “purely fun” way for college students, specifically those in the Jewish community, to share their favorite recipes. 

After Prince partnered with Gershkovich, a senior journalism and dietetics major who also writes a nutrition blog called “The Artsy Palate,” the two started a draft on the cookbook creation site called Type and Save.

At first, the pair says, they struggled to get students to submit recipes.

“People don’t believe that they can cook,” Prince said. “It’s like the movie Ratatouille, I believe everyone can cook.” 

To advertise their cookbook and crowd-source more submissions, Prince and Gershkovich reached out to Talya Gordon, a senior psychology and bio-behavioral health major, who co-founded the Hillel Reshaping Community Togetherness Initiative (HRCT) last year.  Through Hillel, HRTC works to implement students’ ideas and projects in the Jewish community at this university.

Gordon got on board with this project in the hopes that the cookbook will promote HRTC and provide a service to students. She reached out to a wide pool of students—clubs across campus,  social media groups and even Jewish sororities and fraternities—in hopes of generating more submissions. 

“We want this to be representative of the spectrum of Jews on campus,” Gordon said.

The team also used Facebook, posting in groups and messaging individuals, to encourage them to submit their recipes.

Although they are still unsure where the cookbook proceeds will go, the team hopes to donate to an organization fighting food hunger, specifically one based in Israel. 

So far, the Hillel cookbook has collected roughly 125 out of the 150 recipes needed to donate the proceeds. The team agreed that if they do not collect the qualifying amount of recipes, they will most likely donate the proceeds to Hillel.

Because students were submitting recipes from blogs and cookbooks, copyright issues posed another challenge. Gershkovich and Prince have asked various sites to use their recipes in the cookbook, but many haven’t responded. 

This lack of responses forced the team to push back the release date by about six months, from mid-October to Passover, said Prince. 

Despite these setbacks, the team is excited to release the cookbook and bring the Jewish community at this university closer together. 

“I think it will be nice for people to be able to take away something from college, Hillel specifically, and say ‘oh, these are recipes from my friends and other people in the Jewish Community,” Gershkovich said.

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