July 25, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
July 25, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

There Is No Rest While at Kosherfest

I am sure that by the time you got to this page you had already read many stories of what transpired at the Meadowlands Convention Center over the two-day period of November 8-9, Kosherfest. The Jewish Link’s booth was a popular spot, with many stopping by to learn more about our successful publication, and our writers interviewing and discussing the latest that is happening on the kosher scene.

It is funny to me that many of the products on display at the fair would have been out of the realm of possibility many years ago. How many would have seen the need to buy halloumi cheese from Cyprus; in fact, how many of us would have heard of halloumi cheese? Who would have thought carefully about the kind of salt they were using in a recipe? In the past you just used your box of kosher salt, which my mother used primarily for when she kashered her chicken livers, and for recipes, Morton’s. Speaking of kashering liver, of course that is no longer necessary as a company from Scranton was offering samples of their kashered chicken livers, which are easily purchased in kosher stores. While reminiscing with the Finks from Scranton about their company, we all agreed that young people today would never take the time to kasher their own liver. Don’t tell anyone, but I still have a special roasting pan just for kashering my chicken livers. My mouth salivates at the thought of tasting freshly made chicken livers. Alas, today’s youth do not know this culinary delight.

There is no doubt that Kosherfest is a two-day-long eating orgy. I still cannot fathom those that come in the morning at 10 as the doors open and immediately start off their day with a corndog, which was easily attainable at the Meal Mart booth. I much prefer to start with dairy and actually am happy to do so for the entire day. Picture yourself walking up and down long aisles with nothing but food vendors lining both sides offering the finest of the finest. OMG it is crazy.

There are several feelings that I had as I observed and participated in many of the activities. It was exciting for me to meet the number of young entrepreneurs who are attempting to begin their own businesses. In several cases I met with young women who are anxious to give their cooking and baking skills a try. Others are touting their expertise on advertising and public relations. Some of these young people have attended various cooking institutes and are ready to go. It is so nice to see dreamers and I am sure that many of them will be successful. I am hoping that there will be several articles in The Link referencing some of their forthcoming companies.

There was, however, an aspect of the ’fest that disturbed me. I have attended this event for several years, with COVID putting a hold on it for two years, and I do not remember CBD Gummies being displayed there in the past (it could be that they weren’t). There they were and, yes, I did try one after being assured that it would not affect me in any way other than relaxation and calm. The only effect that I felt was the taste, which I thought was awful!

Strikingly, the most notable change at the ’fest was the number of vendors selling different liquors and liqueurs and the astounding number of companies touting their kosher wine suggestions. We all know that the days of Kedem being best known for their Malaga and Concord Grape offerings are years behind us. What is available at this time to the kosher consumer is mind boggling! The number of new labels and wines, and the availability of every kind of liquor with a hashgacha is something I am not so sure that we should be proud of. Remember I mentioned that the festival is like an eating orgy? I neglected to add the fact that people at 10 in the morning until four in the afternoon were drinking as well. It was extremely bothersome to me. I watched young and old sipping and drinking throughout the day. Kol hakavod to Mendy from Teaneck’s own Filler ’Er Up walking with two glasses, one in each hand. When I asked if he needed to have so much to drink that he required two glasses, he explained that one glass was for tasting and the other was his spittoon. He also commented that there would be no way that he could drive back to Teaneck and work in the store if he drank all that he was about to taste. Go Mendy!

We as a community have always taken pride in the fact that in many ways we are not like everyone else. No question we are definitely gaining ground. Whereas one rarely heard of Jewish “shikkurim” years ago, and drinking was not considered a Jewish characteristic, we are now living in a world where purchasing bottles of liquor and wine for hundreds of dollars each is becoming more and more common in our community. There are those who openly discuss their expensive purchases with a sense of pride.

I do not know what the answer to all of this is. My greater concern is about what we are transmitting to the younger generation. Yes, our food choices are getting close to what the non-kosher world offers. But do we want to teach our young people that our drinking habits need to be as common as the other world that we have always restrained from being a part of? Our children watch our every move and even though many of us think nothing can ever happen to us or to any of our children I think it is time to wake up and “smell the rotten roses.”

I love going to Kosherfest. It is exciting and eye opening with regard to all of the new products and the many countries around the world from which they originate, but truthfully this year, for the first time, I came away with a sense of great concern.


Nina Glick can be reached at [email protected].

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles