Interview with Hannah Katsman of CookingManager.com
What made you decide to set up this new blog? What goals do you hope to achieve?
Over the years I’ve met experienced homemakers who don’t save leftovers or store food safely. And many people never learned how to cook from scratch. I’m lucky to have learned kitchen management at home from the most efficient cook I’ve ever met–my mother Touby z”l.
Cookbooks are usually about buying a set of ingredients and following instructions. I like to look at the whole picture–starting with what you have in the house, then choosing recipes and meals according to your specific needs. I want to teach people how to get from menu planning and shopping through cooking and cleanup without becoming exhausted or throwing away half the food at the end.
I see CookingManager.Com as a legacy to my mother, who died almost twenty years ago. She developed a chronic illness that forced her to work using the minimum number of steps. My mother believed that resources, including time, money and energy, should never go to waste. Originally I thought about a book or a website, but since I’ve been blogging for several years I decided on this format.
Why did you set it up with self-hosted WordPress (as opposed to using Blogger or WordPress.com)?
Self-hosted WordPress is used by most successful bloggers. Blogger has little flexibility and WordPress.com’s free service doesn’t allow advertising. You have to pay for self-hosted WordPress, but you own your own content.No one can close you down, as has happened on free platforms. And WordPress is superior when it comes to getting traffic from search engines.
The difference between Blogger and self-hosted WordPress is like the difference between renting and owning a home: Owning is a responsibility and sometimes a headache, but a good investment and ultimately more satisfying.
Who is your target audience for your new blog?
Anyone who wants to save money and time when making home-cooked meals. It can be for people setting up a kitchen for the first time, growing families who find they spend too much on prepared food, or people on special diets who cannot use processed products.
What was the hardest part of setting up the blog?
I’m still intimidated by coding, design and technical details. Keeping up with my post schedule has been a challenge over the busy summer.
The fun parts?
Writing, and interacting with my readers. I love to help readers with their specific problems, like what kind of pressure cooker to buy or how to use meat drippings to flavor future recipes. One mother of eight wrote that she learns something new with every post. I am still finding my voice on CookingManager.Com, so if you have questions come join the conversation while my audience is still small. 🙂
If someone wants to set up a professional blog, how can one get advice on doing so?
Most people offering professional advice also have a public website. Before spending money, spend time on a few different sites to see if the style and focus is right for you. I highly recommend Leora, who advised me on setting up the WordPress blogs and designed the banner for A Mother in Israel. I also like Problogger.net, DailyBlogTips.com, and Nice2All.Com.
Don’t worry about missing a great offer as there will always be another one. If you don’t want to spend you can find hundreds, if not thousands, of free WordPress marketing articles and tutorials including WordPress.org, an active forum that helped me numerous times.
Has using Twitter helped promote your new site?
I haven’t developed my Twitter account much yet,( twitter.com/cookingManager), but I plan to. In the meantime I use it mostly for posting links to new posts. You can follow me both there and at @mominisrael, where I tweet more often.
Are you looking for guest posts for your site? What kind of posts would you like?
Mimi at Israeli Kitchen contributed a delicious chick pea recipe, and I would love to have more. I’m not a “foodie,” but I’ve realized that readers appreciate simple recipes too. And a few have sent me their own recipes to publish. See the tab “Submit Recipe” on the front page.
What are some of your favorite posts on the new site? Why are these your favorites?
- For efficiency, see Putting Quick Meals Together and Eleven Tips for Easy Kitchen Cleanup. These posts have basic information for people who want to be more efficient with their time.
- Leora and others challenged my post Preventing Food Issues in Children, the most controversial so far. I like it when readers make me rethink things.
- My favorite post about my mother’s cooking is My Mother’s Re-Recycled Meat Soup.
- On Sunday I write about kitchen appliances and equipment. My mother was an energy conservationist before it came in style, and taught me about knowing your appliances and using them wisely. It’s something that not all home cooks think about.
Leora, thank you so much for the interview. I’m looking forward to feedback from your readers.
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Leora’s Note: This post was updated with Hannah’s new header and blog layout. The header was designed by Leora.