Of all the industry trade shows out there, the only one that I cover, religiously, is Kosherfest.  And the reason is simple: There’s food.

That’s why everyone comes.  It’s mainly a forum for manufacturers and retailers to put out samples, sell new products, and hammer out deals.  The show is great for the kashrus industry, and also, apparently, for the fork industry. 

The reason I go to Kosherfest, of course, is to write about trends.  Trends are important, especially if your diet is based less on what you’re in the mood of eating and more on what everyone else is eating.  A lot of people aren’t into trends when it comes to, say, clothing, but it happens to be that whatever someone else is eating looks good.  A food can be just okay, but if you see someone else eating it, you think, “Well, they seem to be enjoying it.”  Then you eat it, and it’s not that good, but while you’re chewing, you’re drawing other people in.  It’s like a yawn.

One big trend right now is dips.  Like for example, there’s now a spicy pickle dip.  Normally it used to be that every Shabbos you would put mayonnaise on the table, if you were Yekkish, and you’d put pickles on the table, and then, for one bite, you were like, “What if I mix the pickles and the mayonnaise?  Hey, this is good!”  So now they do that for you right at the factory.  And yes, they took away some of the fun and exploration of Shabbos meals.  But you can still be like, “What if I mix the pickles & mayonnaise with pickles and mayonnaise?” 

Until they come out with a pickles & mayonnaise and pickles and mayonnaise dip.

It could be that this dip thing is part of another trend: laziness.  Laziness is always a trend.  It might be here to stay.  So you might as well get on board.

For example. I saw one product called “potato kugel batter”.  This is for people who don’t want to buy ready-made potato kugel and heat it up because they want to say they made it themselves, but they don’t actually want to make it themselves.  It comes in a plastic bottle that looks like a milk jug, which also allows for some hilarious misadventures involving cereal.  Not to mention coffee.

Or maybe it’s not laziness, per se.  Maybe it’s about how we’re always moving nowadays, and we don’t have time to stand still.  Like at Kosherfest, where you have to hold a voice recorder and a clipboard and a pen and a bag of samples and still eat things that may require two hands, and there’s a line of people behind you.  The last thing you want at this point is to have to manually mix pickles into your mayonnaise.

I imagine this kind of on-the-go thing is a big hit with mashgichim as well.  Especially overseas.

Another example: There were a few companies presenting new flavors of ravioli, which is Italian for kreplach.  They’re not just for Erev Yom Kippur and Purim and Hoshanah Rabbah anymore.  It’s another way to put a bunch of ingredients into one neat package that actually went sliding off my clipboard.  And this way, a traveling mashgiach gets to show up in, say, China, and bring along a full meal. 

“What’s that in your bag?” 

“It’s kreplach!”

Another company, meanwhile, had fruits that were already partially dipped in chocolate. 

Now you don’t have to go to chasunahs anymore! 

It’s only a matter of time before they sell challah pre-dipped in pickle mayonnaise.

And speaking of chocolate, there was a company there that makes a chocolate pudding out of avocadoes.  This is a great way to sneak vegetables into your kids’ food and build distrust from a very young age.  Plus if you leave an avocado out long enough, it turns brown naturally.  So that works out for them.

And you can put it on your toast!

Speaking of toast, though, there was one company there that was selling a bread made out of flax.  Which was shehakol.  This is perfect for a mashgiach on the go who wants to get into a heated argument with airport security. 

Does this qualify as a clothing trend?

The flax bread, of course, is a marvelous invention for people who have dietary restrictions that prevent them for eating real bread, but are sick of eating peanut butter with their fingers.  The company is called Bikurim, I guess because they were looking through Seder Zeraim for a name, and it was either this or Demai. 

And speaking of making things out of new things, another major trend is making everything into sausages.  There are so many different flavors of sausages nowadays that there is no way you can ever remember which ones you like.  Unless you eat them more often than you should be eating sausages. They all look the same. 

When I was growing up, I wasn’t even aware that there were kosher sausages.  I thought sausages were by definition treif.  I think a lot of people thought that, until they discovered that it’s only treif if you put treifeh meat in it.  They recently discovered the same thing with bacon, apparently.  Like you can have a kosher bacon, if you make it out of mushrooms. 

This was another thing I tasted.  Because at the other end of the spectrum of the sausage people, we have the meatless meat people. 

Basically, there’s a huge vegan market out there that has been slowly becoming kosher because at some point they realized that by definition, there’s nothing in vegan food that can’t be kosher.  Unchecked lettuce?  So they said, “Why don’t we appeal to the Jews?”  And then they realized it’s because the Jews like eating meat.  It’s only recently that we even started eating vegetables.  There’s even an entire magazine called Fleishigs

(If it’s successful, they’re going to put out a magazine called Milchigs – the Magazine for Women.)

So anyway, as part of this meatless meat trend, I came across a booth that had various types of fake meat made out of shiitake mushrooms.  Including one that tastes like bacon.  Does it?  I’ve had several “bacon-flavored” items in my life, and they all taste different.

Most of these dishes were pretty good, though, if what you’re looking for is a good mushroom dish.  If you’re expecting a meat dish, though, it tastes like someone cooked meat with mushrooms and then ate out all the meat and left you the mushrooms.  But it’s fine.  I think that food substitutions are all about managing expectations. 

Point is, this meatless thing is perfect for Kosherfest, because there are meat booths and dairy booths there, and you don’t necessarily want to make yourself fleishig. 

Or maybe it just complicates things:

“My mouth tastes like bacon.  Does that mean I’m fleishig?”

Which brings us to washing your mouth out.

This is the first year that people selling alcohol actually called me into booths to give me samples.  I was called into a booth that featured spiked coffee.  It wakes you up and puts you to sleep all at once!  Though it has zero sugar.  AND I burned my tongue.  I found myself wandering around with what was basically a hot cup of schnapps, trying to find something with which to sweeten it.  I finally found this one booth that had a bunch of those fake sugar products that are supposed to taste like sugar, but if you try them, they actually taste like avocado.

There was also a company giving out some kind of aloe vera drink.  I don’t usually drink that, but it’s probably perfect for a burnt tongue.

I don’t know why there has to be little floaty things in it, though.  Don’t they have an immersion blender?  They couldn’t blend it?  My wife blends vegetable soup. The kids have no idea there are vegetables in it.  Despite that we call it “vegetable soup.” 

And that wasn’t even the weirdest thing there was to drink.  At one booth, there were a bunch of schnapps cups lined up, so I took a drink, because I was like, “Hey, I’m 40…”  Turns out it was pickle juice.  Just straight pickled juice. 

“Oh.  Where are the pickles?” 

No pickles.  This company just sold pickle juice. 

And they were saying, “Look, pickle juice has all these health benefits!  It’s great before a fast, or for working out, and you can drink it for hangovers…”

I think the way the hangover cure works is that you’re like, “Uch, too much alcohol,” and then you drink the cure, and you’re like, “Uch, pickle juice.”

I mean, when I buy pickles, I get the juice for free.  I’m not upset that it also comes with pickles.  Who gets a jar of pickles and is like, “Uch!  Cucumbers!”  And starts throwing them out, one at a time? (“Why can’t they just blend it in?!”)

The literature they had also claims that it freshens breath.  It does not. 

It’s a very smart business idea, though, because people eat pickles all the time, and then they throw out the pickle juice.  All that pickle juice is going to waste.  So this company goes through people’s recycling, and they get the pickle juice, and they bottle it and sell it back to those people.  And it costs them nothing.

“What’s that in your suitcase?”

“Never mind.  I’m asking for a reassignment.”

Mordechai Schmutter is a weekly humor columnist for Hamodia, a monthly humor columnist, and has written six books, all published by Israel Book Shop.  He also does freelance writing for hire.  You can send any questions, comments, or ideas to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.