Kosherfest 2009: It Smells Like Eastern Europe In Here

I’m liveblogging today from Kosherfest, a kosher food and food service trade show held in Secuacus, NJ.shtark_cheese.jpg

The first thing I noticed when I came in is that the enormous room with all of the of the trade booths smells like somebody’s bubbe’s kitchen. In theory this should be a good thing, but somehow it feels wrong in a room the size of a baseball field. Plus, bubbe’s kitchen smells like too many foods mixed together. Breads and desserts, chickens and cheeses and spreads of all kinds. And sweat, and anxiety.

dagim.jpgEveryone here is peddling something, and as a result everyone is simultaneously desperate to talk to you, and scanning the room for more important people while you make small talk.

The packaging is, overall, embarrassingly bad. Someone told frum companies that they should wrap everything in bright yellow and blue, and stick with very ’90s fonts, and they’ve all jumped on that bandwagon. Both the Manischewitz and the Osem booths have plush carpeting, and small armies of frum-looking guys in suits and huge grins.

About half of the room seems to be speaking Yiddish. A third of the room is speaking Hebrew, and everything else is a jumble. It turns out even potato chips can be served one chip at a time on toothpicks, and no one bothers to stop chatting while they chew.cookie_sheets.jpg

On the other hand, some of the stuff here looks delicious and brilliant. Best thing I’ve seen so far? Sets of tupperware that come color coded as Dairy, Pareve or Meat. They’re called Kosherkeepers.

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