Popular Welsh/Jewish author Ruth Joseph tells me she is very proud of her latest book, Warm Bagels and Apple Strudel. “It is so much more than a cook book; it includes stories, jokes, anthropology, geography and history. The recipes are old, old recipes that I used to cook with my Mum or that have come from friends and my late mother in law. They have been reworked and are really very special.”
Ruth’s Mum, was the inspiration behind her last best seller, ‘Remembering Judith’ in which she shares both her and her Mum’s compelling stories. It was nursing her Mum, who had anorexia, that guided Ruth toward a career in catering and nutrition and she courageously shares her own relationship with food too. “My Mum used to want to watch me eat, so I would, to please her. I quickly reached over 14 stone whilst she faded to just 4 stone. The very worst times were waiting outside a hospital room at 11 years old not knowing whether or not my Mum would survive.”
Now a regular contributor to the Jewish Chronicle and BUZZ magazine, Ruth describes making the shift from catering to writing after realising, “journalists got in the front door whilst caterers always had to use the back door. I had always been scribbling and always wanted to write the novel of the year but it took a nasty accident for me to realise the importance of following my dream.”
Whilst acknowledging her varied and often difficult life path, Ruth is obviously aware of the gifts too, “I have two very special children and I love my husband Merv, more each day. Merv does the gardening and grows all our lovely fresh food. Although I don’t actually do the sowing or planting we always discuss it and I ask, ‘Can I have this?’ Everything we do is a joint partnership, we chat about everything. My favourite veg at the moment is the giant Mustard leaves. Although my real passion in the garden is roses; Merv’s is citrus fruit and we both love fruit trees. We plant them wherever we can and our drive has become our orchard. With fruit trees, you have a flowering tree which smells lovely, is good for pollinators and then you get the fruit as well.”
As an avid vegetarian, Ruth is passionate about our glorious planet and all it has to offer. “We always say a prayer for new fruit and vegetables before we eat what we have harvested. We don’t grow a lot of any one thing but it’s great just to have a taste of something special. I think it’s so important to use our precious food sensibly, consider the welfare of animals and to buy local and organic wherever possible.”
Merv is even growing chick peas at the moment. I have an abundance of beans, peas and lentils in my kitchen they are so good for vegetarian cooking. We love our wild garlic and the seeds we dried from the Kabocha squash are coming up too.”
Ruth’s love of life is evident in both her speech and her writing as she sums up, “I have a real drive to be recognised and respected and have been really lucky to have had some wonderful experiences as well as the difficult ones. Warm Bagels and Apple Strudel has love, generosity and care on each page and it also sweetens my Mother’s memory.”
Visit www.ruthjoseph.co.uk to read more about Ruth’s incredible journey.