Madeline Reich is the Jewish Instagram queen we didn’t know we needed, but desperately do. If you’re cooped up at home and feeling bored/hungry/cabin-fevery…Maddie Reich has ALL the scrumptious recipes (and just general food porn) you need to nourish your body and soul on her Jewish Vegan account. Bon Appétit.
Allie: What brought you to DC?
Maddie: My partner already lived here, and I was accepted to my grad program for student affairs at the University of Maryland. I fell in love with the UMD program instantly, and feel really lucky I got in.
My masters in student affairs is about supporting students and helping them be successful while they are in college.
Allie: How did you decide to go into student affairs?
Maddie: While at UNC Chapel Hill, I worked in the new student affairs office and helped with student welcome events, mentorship, and other programming. I got to implement a new program in the spring called Geek Week, which is a week of “geek” type activities like Star Trek trivia. Getting involved with Jewish life also helped inspire me to go into student affairs after college.
Allie: What was your experience with Jewish life like at UNC?
Maddie: I didn’t really have a Jewish identity before coming to college, I kind of built one from scratch. I volunteered at the UNC Hillel and was part of a Jewish sorority. I helped with recruitment and programming related to Jewish identity and sisterhood. I also did Challah for Hunger, and despite never having eaten or baked challah before that, I fell in love with it and eventually became president of my chapter. All of these experiences helped me engage with my Jewish identity for the first time, and helped me become a leader.
Allie: What was your Jewish identity like before coming to college?
Maddie: My family moved from New York to the rural south when I was 12, and we were the only Jewish family in the area. There was a lot of anti-Semitism, so I felt like I had to give up a lot of my Jewish identity. That really fueled my desire to help students have Jewish experiences that are meaningful for their identities while at college.
Allie: Walk me through your dream day in DC.
Maddie: I try to do yoga in the morning or go for a run with my dog Charlie, I usually wake up at 5:00 am! Then, I’d put on a TV show for a bit while I get ready. I’d head to Fare Well for breakfast, I’d get french toast strips and shakshuka. I have never been to the Botanical Gardens, so I would go there. For lunch, I would get Ethiopian food at Keren in Adams Morgan with my friends. They give you a LOT of food. After lunch, I’d stop by Labyrinth, the games shop in the Eastern Market, and check for board games on sale. At that point it would be dinner time, so I would try Seoul Food DC in Takoma. I’d get dessert at a bakery nearby that sells Vegan Treats. Then I would go home and try the new game I got, and be in bed by 10:00 pm.
Allie: Tell me about your Instagram account!
Maddie: I love food, I love vegan food, and I love being Jewish. I also love photography – so I wanted an outlet for all of that. I had heard from a lot of people that they think cooking, especially vegan food, is really hard and that they had never learned how to cook and bake. I used to feel that way, and wanted to help other people learn to enjoy it. When I first started cooking and baking, I just made stir-frys and pre-packed foods. I started to get more creative and flexible with how I cook. With baking, the structure was nice because all you have to do is follow the recipe. It taught me the skills and the discipline. Cooking has helped me build confidence and I wanted to share that with others.
Allie: When did you become vegan?
Maddie: I went vegetarian/vegan in 7th grade, so about 11 years ago. My parents didn’t know how to cook vegan, so I had to compromise with them and be vegetarian. I officially went vegan my sophomore year of college. My vegan challah recipe was the first thing I perfected.
Allie: What is your hope for your Instagram account?
Maddie: I think that cooking and baking should be fun and not stressful. I want people – whether they are vegan or not – to learn from it. I also think being vegan is a skill that can be learned, and want to teach people how to be good at reading restaurant menus and nutrition labels. Eventually, I’m going to launch a website that outlines vegan resources, like how and where to find vegan foods. Fun fact: Disney has some pretty good food for vegans!
Allie: What is your favorite recipe?
Maddie: My vegan challah recipe. There is something really special to me about kneading the dough. I have a mixer, but I still make it by hand because I find it therapeutic. The recipe is also very versatile, you can do everything from sprinkles to vegan-beef and cheese. I want to make lavender challah!
Allie: What is something you really want to accomplish this year?
Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…
Maddie: They eat.
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