Meet Robin Weiss, Kugel Kween
She makes kugels, she tells jokes, she does it all!
Happy last Shabbat of 5783!
I’ve been exploring different Shabbats around NYC, from hippie-esque ecstatic dances to discussions on effective altruism (more on that later) and everything in between. In one of the more traditional sit-down dinners this summer, I had the pleasure of sitting next to comedian and kugel maker, Robin Weiss. Robin not only makes delicious kugels, but co-hosts the local show “Kugels and Komedians” with our very own doodler and comedian, Danielle. Enjoy this interview featuring Robin and keep reading to enter to win one of her kugels, just in time for Rosh Hashanah!
How did you grow up Jewishly?
I grew up just Jewish. My parents sent me to Hebrew school to have a Bat Mitzvah. They never had an agenda with me. Then I got to forge my own path when I joined a bunch of groups - I went to Jewish sleep-away camp (Camp Laurelwood in Madison, CT) where I discovered being Jewish.
What came first, comedy or kugel?
Kind of at the same time! Every year, my mom and I would make a kugel whether it was for Yom Kippur break fast or a Rosh Hashanah dinner. We’d make a pecan brown sugar noodle kugel. Typically, people make traditional or potato kugel, and we always made a sweet one and it was a crowd favorite.
One year, I took it upon myself to make it. The year people started getting vaxxed in 2021, I made one for Rosh Hashanah and my brother said, “Wow it’s so good, you should sell it!”
That’s what started the idea and around the time I had just moved to New York City from Westchester and was looking for something creative to do. I got into comedy by going to a comedy show through Moishe House. While doing comedy, I was crafting ideas for the kugel business. I thought what if I did a comedy show and promoted my kugels? And that’s how two ideas became one: kugels and komedians! I started selling them as Kool F-ing Kugels.
What’s your favorite kugel that you make?
A lot of them are still in trial, but the banana bread kugel I make is really fun and tastes just like banana bread.
Are you anticipating a lot of sales this year?
I’m going to make a limited batch of small kugels, like when you go to a bakery and buy a small tart, especially of my apple pie kugel (Miranda here: I’ve had it and can honestly say it’s the tastiest kugel I’ve ever had). Everything is drop based, no online sale, so you can buy them by showing up to a comedy show. Buy your ticket here for our 9/12 show and get $5 off with the code KUGEL5.
What do you say to Sephardic people who think noodle kugel (and Ashkenazi food in general) is gross?
First, they haven’t tried my kugel. Second, they need to find a Jewish grandma or mom who makes really good brisket and then their life will be changed. But always stay away from gefilte fish.
Hey, I like gefilte fish! Anyway… do you have any Jewish comedians who inspire you?
Maybe this is cliché but the creators of Broad City, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson. They have a sense of humor I enjoy and I don’t rewatch TV shows but they’re the TV show I go to. They keep it real and I’m a big fan.
What do you love about being Jewish?
The concept that you can be Jewish as a religion and Jewish as a culture. For me, it’s more than a religion because I’m not a practicing Jew - I’m a communal/cultural Jew. Being involved in so many Jewish organizations like Camp Nai Nai Nai, Kii, Moishe House Without Walls, UJA, and so on is how I build community. Being so involved and making connections with the amazing people I’ve met are really what helped me to get on my path so I’m very grateful.
And last but not least… what are you doing for Shabbat?
I’m going to a Williamsburg Shabbat through Moishe House that’s gala themed!
Enter for a chance to win an apple pie kugel*!
There’s three ways to enter:
Facebook: Share theshabbatdrop.com on your feed and tag Miranda Lapides and hopefully I’ll see it? I’m not sure how my settings work. DM me that you shared just in case!
Not on social media? No problem! Send theshabbatdrop.com to a friend (or enemy… I don’t care) and let me know their email address so I know they subscribed by responding to this email or DMing me.
*The kugel is not kosher. Winner announced and notified 9/13. Must live in the U.S. to win. Good luck!
Buy your tickets to Robin and Danielle’s show here and use the code KUGEL5 for $5 off.
I have yet to make a graphic for this and might cancel if we don’t get more sign ups, so sign up at the link above! It’s virtual, so you can join no matter where you are.
Shabbat Shalom. It’s going to be a fun one.