2016-03-16 / Local News

Author serves up mouthwatering recipes—and steamy stories

MEET CINDY SILVERT…
BY JAYNE JACOVA FELD Voice staff

FAMILY: Husband Dan; children Eden, Ben and Jake

SYNAGOGUE: Chabad and Torah Links

CURRENT FAVORITE RECIPE: Wild rice

FAVORITE JEWISH RECIPE: “My homemade Hamantaschen”

FAVORITE FOOD MOVIE: “Mostly Martha”

FAVORITE TV CHEF: The Galloping Gourmet

The heroines of Cindy Silvert’s vignettes are glamorous damsels. Sometimes they’re yearning for love, or maybe for lust and adventure. Sometimes they’re just plain hungry.

“One adventure takes place on a dessert island; another is stranded in an airport,” the Cherry Hill mother of three explained. “The stories have an older sensibility but with a modern, feminist take. She’s not sure if she wants him or the cupcake, but she always gets what she wants.”

“The Hungry Love Cookbook,” as you have might have already guessed, is no ordinary selection of recipes. The 30 chapters are introduced with a romantic parody related to the dishes coveted by the stories’ protagonists. All 130 recipes are kosher and, for the most part, healthy. In another twist on most culinary collections, the ingredients are simple and the steps are easy to follow, involving the least amount of work for the most scrumptious results, said Silvert, a self-taught cook who is also a food columnist and humorist for various publications.

“I cheat at cooking,” she admitted. “If I can make it better, easier or faster—I will. There’s no preamble. The recipes tell you what ingredients you need and what to do. Really my goal was to share the easiest, fastest way to cook the dishes. The stories put you in a different world. They’re fun, quick whatevers to help you overcome whatever is stressing you out today.”

A native of Canada who lived in Israel before making her way to South Jersey, Silvert, like her cookbook, is hard to define. She’s worked in film, education, high-tech, the arts and previously owned a flower store in North Jersey. In addition, she was a science teacher at Kellman Brown Academy for several years and she paints—mostly melancholy, abstract portraits. She is a member of the Jewish Community Relations Council’s Israel Advocacy Committee.

Her culinary inspirations are her mother and grandmother and the older generation of cooks who relied less on strict instructions and more on instinct when it came to measurements.

“Both my mom and grandmom were great minimalists,” she said. “My grandmom really inspired my baking because everything she made was barely sweet. Her apple strudel inspired my apple strudel.”

She herself never wrote down her recipes until it came time to make the cookbook. As a result, nailing down the cooking steps was actually the hardest part. Still, the simplified directions were as essential as the scintillating stories, she said. The easier the steps, the more accessible cooking will be to people intimidated by more complex cookbooks and Master Chef type shows.

Celebrity chef and radio personality Joe Massaglia said he was impressed by both the creative approach Silvert took with her cookbook and the actual recipes.

“The fact is she has put together an exciting, different take on recipe books,” said Massaglia, who has had Silvert as a guest on his “Table for 2” radio show on WOND 1400 AM. “She blends steamy stories and recipes together. I’ve never seen anything like that.”

As she tours both locally and internationally with the book—she’s taking it to both Israel and Canada in upcoming months—she says people typically ask if the book has any basis in reality.

“I’m a happily married woman,” she said. “I have no comment.” 

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