What began as a young girl's dreams have culminated into a
full-fledged career for author Gail Ashkanazi-Hankin. Early in life, her
aptitude for art was discovered and fostered by her parents, Bernard and Bernice
Ashkanazi. As she developed her artistic skills, she practiced another of her
passions—cooking, especially cooking creatively for special diets. Bernard
Ashkanazi had many severe food allergies, and his daughter constantly adapted
recipes for him.
This proved particularly difficult when attempting to keep
dishes kosher, however.
Years later, she realized that others of her faith would
surely benefit from a collection of recipes that were low in fat and cholesterol
but remained kosher.
Choosing to focus on Passover, the author developed a
collection of recipes that became her first book, Passover Lite Kosher
Cookbook. The book was an instant success with both customers and
critics. Women's Circle wrote, "Timesaving tips make Passover
cooking easier with recipes you will want to use year-round."
Year-round recipes were just what she had in mind for Festivals
of Lite Kosher Cookbook. It expands the concept of low-fat,
low-cholesterol kosher cooking to all of the Jewish holidays and draws on the
cuisines of Jews from around the world. In her research, she interviewed and
worked with cooks from Russia, Italy, Israel, Morocco, and South Africa, among
Throughout Mrs. Ashkanazi-Hankin's life, her love for art has kept pace
with her love of cooking. She even combines the two in her cookbooks—for each,
she has created all of the artwork, including the striking, vibrant covers.