Sketching Out Blog: Sketches of art, watercolor, photos, recipes, books, interviews, Jewish topics, and Highland Park, New Jersey

Interview with Hannah Katsman of

cooking manager 2010

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
Self-hosted WordPress is used by most successful bloggers. Blogger has little flexibility and’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,, 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, 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,(, 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?

Leora, thank you so much for the interview. I’m looking forward to feedback from your readers.

•  •  •

Leora’s Note: This post was updated with Hannah’s new header and blog layout. The header was designed by Leora.

Hannah says

Thank you again, Leora.

Leora says

My pleasure. You write so well and are a role model for those who want to do a project and then set about to do so.

Hannah says

Leora, you have a wonderful project here too. You put thought into every aspect of your blog.

Ilana-Davita says

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.
Very wise option. This happens so frequently. One is in the kitchen looking at pantry and fridge and wondering what to cook.

Juggling Frogs says

Hatzlacha rabah MiI!! This looks like a wonderful project. Thank you, Leora, for highlighting it in this interview. May you have every success!

Leora says

I keep revisiting that post on Preventing Food Issues in Children. It does bring up psychology and food issues; maybe we could find you a specialist in food issues for a post?

I was sad to see Nice2All.Com seems to be shut down do to mysterious circumstances (the blogger is not well?).

I like learning how your mother influenced your blog and your life.

Hannah says

Nice2All is in my blog reader and hadn't missed it yet. I really like Lyndi. She is down-to-earth and easy to understand.

Mrs. S. says

Great interview, Leora!

Hannah - Wishing you continued success with the new blog.

Malka Esther says

Great post and a new blog that it sounds like I need to try to fit into my busy schedule. Thanks Leora. (grin)

Leora says

If Hannah can learn WordPress, you can, too, Malka Esther (grin back atcha).

Hannah says

Thanks to Leora for not saying "if Hannah can learn WP, *anyone* can."

Leora says

I don't think anyone can learn WordPress, especially the details of it. But I've talking to Malka Esther about her new business, and I see that some parts come easily to her. And some parts she struggles with but then gets.

The struggle with code gets easier, I really think so. It's like math - some get it easily, some work hard and then get it mostly, some kind of get it, and some, well, I don't know.

Jew Wishes says

What an excellent interview, Leora!

Good luck, Hannah.

Baila says

An interview between two of my favorite bloggers. Hannah's new website is for anyone who ever stands in a kitchen. (Meaning you don't even have to cook to gain something from it). Good luck with the site, Hannah. Remember your original fans when it gets big, as I'm confident it will.

Risa says

Baila said it all!

ramblingwoods says

I used to cook from about the age of 9 and make dinners..then I got all the cooking responsibility. I think that cooking now for me is so darn tiring that I would rather use the energy for something more fun...I will have to check out this web site...

Batya from Shiloh says

Very impressive. Thanks for posting the interview. Good luck to Hannah!

Rivka with a capital A says

Great interview!!

Hannah says

Thank you for all of the kind words, especially Baila! I'm always telling people that the blog is for people who want to cook more from scratch, so you have given me something to think about.


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