I'm Jess.

Sweet Amandine is where I come to post recipes, tell stories, share photographs, and practice writing. I was born in New York City, grew up in Ohio, and I now live in Cambridge, Massachusetts with my husband, Eli (rhymes with “jelly”), and my daughter, Mia. Here are some of the other places I’ve called home: Seattle, San Francisco, and Jerusalem. For a short time after college, I also lived in Oxford, England, where I tasted my first good curry and learned to put milk in my tea.

I don’t believe in secret recipes.


Here are answers to a few questions that I sometimes receive. If you have a question that I haven’t answered here, or you’d just like to say hello, please send me an e-mail at sweetamandine (at) gmail (dot) com. I love hearing from you.

Did your brain really explode?
Yep. I’m all better now.

Are you on Twitter? Flickr? Facebook?
Yes, yes, and no YES.

I hear you're writing a book...
I am! It's a memoir with recipes, due out from The Penguin Group in 2014. More about that here. 

Can I sign up somewhere to receive your posts via e-mail or RSS?
Yes, over here.

Do you have a recipe index?
Yes, right here.

What’s your “real” job?
I’m a PhD candidate in Yiddish literature. If you want to read some more about that or, more likely, you’re looking for a good tomato soup recipe, click here.

What kind of camera do you use for the photos on this site?
It depends on the day. All of the photographs in the header, and many of the photographs on this site, are 35mm, medium format, or instant film. I use a variety of cameras, including a Nikon FM2, a Pentax K1000, a Yashica Mat, a Hasselblad, a Minolta Instant Pro, and a Polaroid Reporter. The rest of my photographs are digital. Until October of 2009, I took them on a Canon PowerShot, which is a point-and-shoot camera. Then, Eli and I invested in a Nikon D700 with a fixed, 50mm f/1.4 lens. (To “zoom in” you move your body.) I now make all of my digital photographs with this camera.

Can I use one of your photos on my site?
All of the work on Sweet Amandine is protected by copyright. So are the photos that I have posted on Flickr. If you would like to use one of my photos, please ask me first. I work hard to create this content, and I like to know where it goes. As long as you’re not using the photo for profit, you don’t alter it in any way, you attribute it to me and link back to Sweet Amandine, I’ll almost always say yes.

Can I advertise on your site?
Thank you for your interest, but no, I do not run advertisements on Sweet Amandine.

Can I send you a product to review?
I don’t write product reviews or host giveaways on this site.

Which pots (or knives, or baking pans, or appliances) should I buy for my kitchen?
The one tool that I cannot recommend strongly enough is an oven thermometer. Ovens, even shiny new ones, run hot and cold all the time, and the temperature in there can make all the difference to the success of your recipe. Beyond that, I hesitate to offer too many recommendations. I find that these things tend to be a matter of personal preference, so it’s really up to you! If you’d like to see some of the kitchen tools that I like best, you can click over to the Sweet Amandine shop on Amazon.com. I also posted some of my favorite books, music, and games there.

Are all of the recipes on Sweet Amandine kosher?


marlene mamiye said...

Hi- Love your blog! Check out http://thejewishhostess.com.

Monique818 said...

I found your blog last November when I wanted to make a cassata cake for my sister in law for her anniversary. She lives in Ohio and always talks about this cake. I had never heard of it. When I read all the recipes online, I thought ew these cant be right:) Candied fruit and marzipan. Then I found yours and it sounded just like one she got from a Kosher bakery in Cleveland. So I decided to give it a try. On a side note I am currently in culinary school in Texas becoming a pastry chef (2nd career), so I used your ingredients but made the custard the way I was taught in school. I also used mixed berries, instead of strawberries due to allergies. I must say this cake was a hit with with our family. There was not a single crumb left. Fast forward to today- I am in my final week of kitchen labs in school and I have to prepare 3 celebration cakes. I have decided to use the cassata cake again. Its a huge risk but I am hoping it will pay off. I had to use a high ratio cake to with stand the fondant but I am hoping that it will be just as fabulous as the version with your lighter cake. Thank you for such a fun blog. I am not one that reads blogs, but I love your site. PS Do you know Carraid Obrien? She went to BU and also works in Yiddish Lit, actually she is not Jewish but lived in Israel with me, speaks fluent Hebrew and Yiddish and always confuses people:) Ha I know its a small field:)

Clare said...

Hi Jess,

Just discovered your blog and absolutely adore it!!
Can't wait to read everything but just wondering if you would be willing to share any details about your apartment in Berlin? It looked gorgeous and we are going for a week this summer and I'd love to find out whether it was available!
Thanks a million :-)

Jess said...

Hi, Clare. Thanks for your note. So glad you found me here! We found that apartment through an online listing - I think on Craigslist. It belongs to a young couple that just so happened to be going away the very weeks that we wanted to be in Berlin, so we rented it from them. It was perfect timing! If you can find a situation like that, it's pretty great. Much less expensive than renting a vacation flat from one of those services. I can tell you, at least, that the apartment is in a neighborhood called Prenzlauer Berg, and that we really enjoyed living there for the summer. Happy travels!

And Monique818, please forgive my extremely delayed reply. I do hope you'll still check back. That is a fantastic cake story! Thank you so much for sharing it here. I hope that the cake served you well for your final kitchen labs. Three celebration cakes?! That sounds, frankly, terrifying! About Caraid O'Brien I know of her, but I don't know her personally. Yes, it is a small field!

carolinehelen1019 said...

Wow where are you earning a Phd in Yiddish, that's awesome!

Was intro'd to your blog by another food blogger in Colorado. It's nice to see such interesting details about the woman behind the blog, and I live locally so I'm hoping to see dining out posts!

Molly said...

Oh Jess, I just stopped by to see if there was a new post, and my, oh, my. Sweet Amandine's new look is beautiful. What a treat it is for us readers to enjoy your elegant and thoughtful photography during each visit. And the new font is lovely, too.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jess,

What kind of digital camera do you use?

Jess said...

Anonymous - I use a Nikon D700 for my digital photographs. (See above for more information about my photography.)

carolinehelen1019 - I don't write very often about restaurants on this site, but I have been meaning to put together a list of my favorite places to eat in the Boston area. Stay tuned!

And Molly, thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

thanks jess, i have also been using a 35mm film camera, cannon ftb, but recently had a baby and wanted to invest in a digital camera.

Angela said...


Just came across your blog. Love your photographs and 'fun' writing style. I just started a blog about sweets a couple months ago; so very new to the 'blogging' world. I love to eat, but more so love to create it; baking mostly, so any dessert intrigues me. Oh, it's FabulouslySweet.com
I will definitely be following you to what new and inspiring creations and clever thoughts you have! I 'LOVE' celery too, btw. Will for sure be trying out the recipe!
: )

100 Cups of Coffee said...

I linked your photo of Salted Chocolate Almond Toffee to my Pinterest. Love, your blog buddy, Kimberly Spice http://cupsofcoffee100.blogspot.com/

Amrita said...

I keep coming back to your blog to read every other day or so. I think its time I told you -- I absolutely love it!

Caroline said...

Hello - I just wanted to say thank you for creating such a beautiful and inspirational blog. It's an absolute treat and I hope you continue to make such lovely posts, pictures - and food:)

Sarah said...

Absolutely mouth watering recipes. Look forward to going through the archives and making some amazing treats.

From a Cream Tea Obsessive

Yossi Sheriff said...

Thanks for this wonderful and inspiring blog

Susanne said...

dear jess, for several days I read on your blog like a book thank you so much for many interesting and delicious thought - that I had to tell you by heart. enjoy your weekend with your family. warm regards susanne

Pascale said...

Dear Jess,
I stumbled upon your beautiful blog in searching for an almond toffee recipe. Reading about you I see you lived in Oxford. I live in the countryside close to Oxford so I thought you might like to see a few pictures and stories from this patch. I will keep visiting your site and hope to hear you sometime.
Best wishes, Pascale extra-relish.com

Suzi Banks Baum said...

Dear Jess,

Still up to my knees in plums here in the rainy Berks. I just read your post and am completely smitten with your photo of laundry in Berlin.
Could we email about my using it on my site in a piece about plums or food blogs or something like that? My site is under renovation right now, switching to a new nicer template. Here is my email: suzi@laundrylinedivine.com . We are having a canning swap at the GB Farmer's Market on the 13th. Wanna come? My tomato plum jam will be on the table. xoxox Love, Suzi

Jess said...

Hi, Suzi! Yes, yes, I'll shoot you an e-mail this weekend. 'til soon!

EBK said...

Just found your blog & I love it. We lived in Portland, ME (Love Standard Baking Co & am going to look up the book!) and then in Chestnut Hill while I studied Phil. at BC. Now we live in the desert (literally, Scottsdale AZ) and I miss the old places. Thanks for your work here. It inspires this Jewish girl on many levels.

Claudia said...

Hi Jess
I've been reading your blog for a little while now and love it. Your writing style is so inviting and I feel I know you and your family. Mia by the way is adorable. I am making my way through your past posts and just got to the clafoutis. I have been craving this dessert for the last month or so and jumped right up and followed your recipe, making a slight adjustment only because I didn't have all the ingredients on hand. I've posted it on my blog,(theTinCanKitchen.blogspot.ca)linking to your site of course. Now it's back to 2009 to see what you're cooking up next :) Thanks for the inspiration.

Becci Curry said...

Hi Jess,

Thank you for your posts and specifically for the one you wrote in 2009 about "The Joint Account that Underwrites Our Marriage" you have managed to combine two great things, food and writing and have done both perfectly. Thank you for that!


strategyrob said...

Hey there,

Thank you !!

I happened across your words on the explosion in your head. I had one too after a brutal spine surgery in Israel a year and a half ago. The stroke, or if you prefer aneurysm didn't really scare me until I was home some 3 months later after rehab for the 12 mangled, stenosised, spondelosised discs, the gall bladder explosion, the MERS infection, the second back surgery and, well, a non-intentioned attempt by the Israeli medical gods to kill me by flooding my lungs, shutting down my kidneys, and generally driving me crazy. But in the end it is all good because here I am with almost everything intact - well not the 2 fingers on my left hand, precious to my precious guitar playing, and maybe not the part of my brain that remembers things, firstly for a while names, then words, and of course the scales to make the guitar work properly. But boy am I happy to be alive and thank God Almighty for the gift of every day.

Yesterday I BBQ'd here in the Shomron with my grandson. What a gift for all of us. Oh yes - the stroke left me in an almost permanent emotional state so my eyes hurt this week from crying about how great he is as well as for the 23,000 + families who are hurting so we can have a life in our country, but I digress....I am afraid of the next brain event which I know must be lurking out there...but like you I am afraid not for me but for Aryeh who will not have me in the same way as I do not have my best buddies, both zaydees who are now gone 30 and 40 years.

The lesson and gift of the aneurysm is that we made it through, at least for those of us who lost something but who gained so much insight into what is important and how to be thankful each day for the present it is, and for the people who share our happiness in its glory. I never would have wished the stroke on myself, and I do know that the event that could end it all is just around the corner, but as the great masters have taught us, we are all in the "vestibule" waiting to see the rest of the house. I shall not fear for God is with me.

He wasn't ready for me then, but when he is , you can be sure I will be ready for Him when the time is right, there thanking God equally for the good and the not so good, for the 8 fingers left to re-learn those scales, for the memory I do have left, and for the love I share with those who deserve to get it while I can give it.

We have so much even after we lost something vital.

Thanks again for sharing. You touched me with your experience.

From the ancient homeland of the children of Israel, greetings and blessings from stomping grounds of the tribe of Menashe

Kol Toov

Rob Gasner

Danielle said...

Hi Jess,

I just want to say, I am loving your blog. It is refreshing, honest, humble, intelligent, kind. It makes me feel inspired, but also somehow understood. There are a lot of blogs I read that are inspiring but somehow feel larger than life, and I go away from them feeling a little like I might after reading People Magazine - alienated I guess? But yours, you are down to earth and I really appreciate that. Thank you - can't wait for your book.


notesfromatuscanolivegrove said...

Just wanted to say that I discovered your blog today (via Rachel eats)and it's beautiful, and you have a great writing style. I'm looking forward to exploring your posts.

Isabelle Hulm said...

I have just discovered your blog and love everything about it.

Anonymous said...

Hello Jess,

I think I discovered you while poking around on Instagram. Your move to SF almost coincided with mine. We moved from Seattle in August 2014, and my husband works for a big tech company, here. I used to have a food blog in Seattle, so I think we are aquatinted with some of the same folks. Thanks to you, I discovered twirl and dip. It's crazy amazing. Thank you for the great tip! It would be super fun to connect. I enjoy your writing and photography- two passions close to my own heart. I am a homemaker with an 11-year old daughter. If you would like to connect, my email is sarahfrijlink(@)msn(dot)com. Hope to hear from you!


Anonymous said...

Just finished your wonderful book. I too am originally from Clevlamd (Shaker) and never knew there was a name for my favorite childhood cake. I'd describe the strawberry, custardy memory to others and could not find it anywhere. Thank you, can't wait to bake it and so many of your other recipes. Do you have a recipe for coconut bars (another Clevland treat)?

Charlie said...

Hi! To be completely upfront, apparently I am incredibly shallow. I just finished reading Stir and loved it. So much about your story was incredible, leading me to google your blog tonight. I remember at the end of your book, before you had the reconstructive surgery, how you had mentioned multiple times about how you were never a beauty. So being, as I said, apparently shallow, I immediately clicked on "about" hoping for a picture, just to see what never a beauty looked like to you. And immediately I was struck to write this suddenly creepy-sounding comment telling you that you are breathtaking.

That is all.

Thank you for sharing your amazing story, it was tautly written and I couldn't put it down until I was finished.

Svetlana Pavlova said...

Hi,just read your book.I loved it.English is not my native language,but I can appritiate your writing style.I define it as exquisite. Keep writing and baking,and cooking, and doing whatever you up to. Your creativity and taste shine through everything you do.

Anonymous said...

I am in the middle of your book and I am enjoying it. (I am supposed to be reading a different book
for my book club---but I'm interested in your story)
I am looking for your latest post from your bog, but I can't seem to find that?
Not sure if I am looking in the wrong area or not.
I also do photography and I like the photos on your site. Nice work!

☮ Isabella R. said...

I read your book :D I loved all the cool recipes!