The overlapping of Thanksgiving and Chanukah this year resulted in a brand new holiday: Thanksgivukah! It has created a foodie sensation and brought kosher into the limelight. I’m not Jewish, nor am I an expert in kashrut, but I’ve done a bit of research into the subject and I realized there’s a whole world of kosher apps out there. It’s a good thing, because keeping kosher takes a bit of planning (no mixing meat and dairy), which can be especially difficult to manage during the holiday season.
The Manischewitz Company, a leading manufacturer of kosher food products, released The Manischewitz Recipe & Holiday Guide earlier this year. The app advertises hundreds of kosher recipes for daily cooking and every Jewish holiday throughout the year. Whether you’ve recently adopted a kosher lifestyle or you grew up following the laws of kashrut, new recipe ideas will always come in handy.
Keep reading to find out more.
It’s a simple and straightforward recipe app, but still has a few homey touches to give a bit of character. The home screen is a collection of recipe categories: Everyday Cooking, Shabbat and Holiday Recipes. If you enable location services, the app will let you know where to find candle lighting services in your area (this feature didn’t work where I live in Ireland, so I assume it only works in the United States). Immediately I noticed the choppy navigation, so it came as no surprise that an Internet connection is required to view all material of this web-based app.
The app features hundreds of recipes for Rosh Hashana, Sukkot, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Purim, Passover and somewhat randomly, July 4th. Manischewitz understands kosher isn’t just a way of cooking — it’s a way of living, and they offer the opportunity to connect via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. The search functions nicely, responding to terms like gluten free and instantly locating recipes when I wanted to find something with polenta.
I selected the Everyday Cooking category and was greeted by a beautiful photo of comforting matzo ball soup above a long list of recipes. It’s easy to filter the recipes with the touch of a button according to whether the dishes fall into the Meat, Dairy or Pareve or an extended list of courses: Appetizer, Main, Side and Dessert. It’s convenient to be able to select more than one filter at a time.
Unfortunately, the search function is only available on the home screen. It would be nice to search within the long lists of recipes in each category. I enjoyed perusing recipes by holiday, like Chanukah, for example. I also liked the way the app provides a bit of background on religious holidays and currents dates under the Learn More section.
Recipes come from a variety of sources: well-known kosher chefs and cookbook authors plus Manischewitz Cook-Off winners and finalists from over the years. It’s a good mix of traditional and modern recipes, with influences from around the world. I found recipes with flavors from Asia, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, Africa and regions all over the United States. For Chanukah, I found several variations on the traditional latke, such as the Potato and Parsnip Thyme Latkes with Turkey Gravy, Carrot & Apple Latkes and Sweet Cranberry Latkes.
A photo accompanies many of the recipes, which is good. I noticed when I viewed a recipe and returned to the categories screen I had to start all over again setting my recipe filters, which was annoying. It would be nice to see a few enhancements to the usability of this app in the future.
Cooking with Manischewitz
Given the lack of attention to detail in the usability of navigating the recipes, I was pleasantly surprised by the recipe user experience. The design is sleek and the content well organized. At the very top the recipe source is noted, and you may just discover a few new blogs to follow. Tags let you know whether the dish is Meat, Diary, Pareve, etc. It’s easy to see how much time is required to make the dish and how many servings yielded.
The ingredients lists are easy to read and steps are clear and concise. I liked the added functionality of a cook mode, which allowed me to rotate the phone and work through each step one at a time. Manischewitz products are mentioned when appropriate and they’ve struck a nice balance of advertising without being obnoxious. Sharing recipe links via Email and other social networks is convenient.
The Manischewitz Recipe & Holiday Guide is a useful collection of hundreds of recipes for any kosher home cook. It’s a simple, straightforward app that can be a bit buggy with loading content of search results. Since its launch this summer Manishewitz has rolled out a couple of improvements, so it’s not to much to hope that this app will continue to evolve, offering users better search functionality.
What the app lacks in functionality it makes up for with a huge variety of kosher recipes. If you’re tired of making the same old kugel I guarantee you’ll find inspiration in the hundreds of recipes created by chefs, bloggers and home cooks. The app has a real community feel, which is great for sourcing new ideas and lends recipes a bit of character. You’ll turn to this app throughout the year for everyday inspiration, as well as a little something special for the major holidays.