Writer, Photographer, and Lemon Obsessed


For my entire life, my grandmother has been forcing me to eat. She’s Jewish and Persian, which means a lot of meat, a lot of rice, and a lot of guilt if you don’t eat everything on your plate and go back for seconds. But after two years of living in Israel, food is not just food to me anymore. It’s my entire Friday morning, preparing challah as I imagine the stranger whose recipe I’ve adopted, wondering if she’s kneading her dough as I am kneading mine and whether she is “crying into it,” an ingredient her recipe calls for. It’s preparing and cooking rice the same way my great-grandmother did in Iran more than eighty years ago, feeling the same things she felt as wet grains wash over my fingers and the jubilant relief when a glorious, crunchy, orangey-yellow, shiny, unbroken tahdiq (don’t worry, we’ll get to this later…) unhooks from the bottom sides of the pot.

The “My Jerusalem Kitchen” blog is a reminder that when I walk into my kitchen to cook, I am not alone. I am bringing with me the sun-dried tomato paste recipe a stranger offered to me in the market one day, the salad spoons a Georgian shop owner gave to me in exchange for teaching him how to use the Internet, and the handed-down recipes and secret ingredients old women have clutched to their chests for generations. Broadly speaking though, my “Jerusalem Kitchen” is a state of mind, a choice: fresh produce, attention to detail, attention to budget!, hand-me-down recipes, and traditional methods. It’s a reminder food can connect us to our culture and heritage while also propelling us toward the people we will become.

More than anything in this country, I will miss the Mahane Yehuda market (“the shuk”), where my spice guy Noam always asks me what I’m making this week and gives me a free spice to try; where the Iraqi kohlrabi seller screams at my fiancé, “This guy loves my kohlrabi! Tell everyone here how good my kohlrabi is!” and winks as he puts a radish in our bag for its “aphrodisiac quality.” The shuk is where I grew a tough skin amidst the elderly women and men who elbow, shove and fight their way in for the freshest bell pepper; where, when you run out of money, someone passes you a shekel or two without hesitation; where everyone tries to marry you to their son; and where we can all come together and recognize a common love: good food.

Unless otherwise noted, all content and photographs are taken by me.

All Rights Reserved. Please do not repost my content or use my photos without obtaining prior permission. Thank you!


29 thoughts on “ABOUT

  1. Corrie says:

    I love this! Can’t wait to read more. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  2. Suzanne Goren says:

    This is beautiful Lauren! Anna just made Shakshuka a few weeks ago for us- I had NEVER had it. Can’t wait to try your recipe. Love to you,
    Best of luck on your move WEST,

  3. Amalia says:

    I just now discovered this “about” section–it’s so beautiful, it almost made me cry! We’re so going to make every recipe on here this summer and will think of you as we cook!

  4. Lynn Brickman says:

    Was looking up lacey cookie recipes and came upon your site. When I saw the name Jerusalem Kitchen, I had to read your “about”, it was so very touching. Looking forward to trying your recipes. Someday, I hope to visit Israel 🙂 Good luck in law school!!

    1. Thank you for your comment! That means a lot to me! I hope the lacey recipe turns out for you. They are devilish! And thank you, again for stopping by!

  5. Lauren…loved your words and your heart shining through them. I have The Love Dog Cafe (reference to Rumi) on Lopez Island and was just browsing recipes. My thoughts and feelings about food are the same as yours and I look forward to trying out some of your recipes. It is challenging and rewarding to bring these feelings and ideas into the workplace…in this country we have divorced ourselves from our food and the life that is in it. Hopefully we will be part of that changing!

    1. What kind words! Thank you for stopping by and please let me know if you try anything!

  6. Gabriella says:

    Hi Lauren, I’ve nominated you for a Liebster blog award. I really love reading your blog and your posts literally make me drool 🙂

    1. Wow! Thank you so much for the nomination! I’m flattered! I’m really excited to try some of your recipes, particularly the tomato and feta keftedes. Thanks again!

  7. Ronit says:

    Hi Lauren. what a wonderful blog. thanks so much for sharing the recipes. You’ve captured the essence of Israeli life and food and you are talented writer. Keep up the good work.

    1. Hi Ronit,

      Thank you so much! What a wonderful compliment. I really appreciate it!


  8. Ronit says:

    almost forgot! when making the chamootzeem (sp?) is there a specific vinegar that works better?

    1. Yes! White vinegar. They’re delicious!

  9. fransfavs says:

    Just discovered your blog–it’s a refreshing change from so many I’ve perused. You’re an excellent writer as well as excellent cook. I’m quite sure you’ll be an excellent lawyer, too!

    1. Wow, what a compliment! Thank you so much for the kind words, and I’m so glad you like my blog.

  10. Noa Levin says:

    Hi My Jerusalem Kitchen! I’ve nominated you for a Liebster Award:
    The pictures of your recipes are mouthwatering and I love your writing!

  11. Barbara says:

    Hi. Wonderful blog. thank’s for yours recipes. I’m Italian, I’m living in Rome, and I love a good food, a good pictures, and good ideas

    1. Thank you, Barbara! I always love hearing how far my blog travels. Thanks for checking it out! Have a great weekend!

  12. Hi Lauren!
    I love your site. . . your recipes and photos look amazing! I love finding people like you to follow 🙂
    Please contact me. I’d like to discuss sharing your info!

  13. Holly B. says:

    I am making your granola now! Just stirred it for the first time and the tidbits I tried are so delicious. A great twist on granola. It will definitely be a favorite here. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I’m glad you like it so far! Please report back! And thank you for checking out my blog!

  14. I always love to find people in Israel blogging in English, love it!

    1. Thanks! Sadly, I don’t live in Israel anymore, but I’m glad you like the blog!

  15. katie epstein says:

    Lauren! Long time no see or talk!! I just wanted to write you a quick note and tell you how much I love your blog. I was planning a bachlorette dinner and am going to use a whole bunch of your delicious recipes. Thanks so much for posting these. I dont know if youre still in the bay area but I’m in Oakland for the next year. If youre ever on the east side I’d love to grab coffee/cocktails!

    all the best,
    Katie Epstein

    1. Katie! Great to hear from you! I would LOVE to see you next year when you’re here. Let me know if you need help finding recipes. I’m still working on the search feature…

  16. Lucy says:

    I want to let you know that your lace cookies were blocked in Pinterest as possible spam. Your blog certainly is lovely so you might want to check it out.

  17. I just found your blog through Ben Huberman’s post. Your story about the birth of your daughter was wonderful. We spent twelve wonderful days in Jerusalem in September. The shuk was amazing! I’ve vowed to make some Israeli food, so I can’t wait to try some of your recipes!

  18. estellechait says:

    You’re an amazing writer! Looking forward to reading more on your blog.

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