I’m a sucker for new starts: the crisp first page of a notebook, snowdrops pushing through icy ground with the promise of spring and, of course, a new year. In the lead-up to January 1 it feels like anything is possible, and I let myself indulge in resolutions, predictions and hope for the upcoming year.
One of my favorite things to predict are food trends: What, and how, will we eat in the new year – and why? I’ve scoured the internet, the news, social media and the Israeli food scene to bring you my seven Jewish food trend predictions for 2023. I’m happy to report that all signs point to a flavorful, nourishing year – take a look:
1. Dig Into Dates
TikTok, the driving force behind many 2022 – and, I predict, 2023 – food trends, is obsessed with dates. Videos showing users stuffing, coating and sprinkling this antioxidant-rich, pocket-sized superfruit have millions of views. But stuffing dates isn’t new: Moroccan Jews are long-time masters of the art, proving this trend is not just for Gen Z.
In fact, dates have been staples of the global Jewish pantry since biblical times. When the bible describes Israel as the “land of milk and honey,” it’s referring to silan (date honey). This natural, vegan (bonus: another culinary trend set to continue into 2023) sweetener snuck into the collective consciousness last year when it made its Trader Joe’s debut, and I predict its popularity will soar in 2023. Mix it with raw tahini for a Middle Eastern take on PB&J, drizzle it onto ice cream, or pass over your classic apples-and-Manischewitz haroset recipe for this treacly (arguably tastier) Iraqi version.
2. Bubbe Knows Best
The Food Network predicts that nostalgic food will be a key trend for 2023. At The Nosher, we’ve certainly noticed that the hardships of the last couple of years have led to an increased interest in classic Jewish dishes. While we hope and pray for a healthy, peaceful, abundant 2023, should times get tough, there’s no shortage of old-school Jewish comfort foods to seek solace in. Be it a no-frills, deliciously salty dinner of salami and eggs; slow-cooked, hearty mafrum; or a quick, one-bowl Russian apple cake, we’ve got this trend covered.
Do you have a beloved Jewish comfort food we haven’t featured on The Nosher? Let us know by emailing email@example.com.
3. Get on Board(s)
Another TikTok-driven trend set to continue in 2023 is cramming an entire meal – or course – onto a cutting board. It sounds simple, but results vary wildly. I’m not convinced by its latest iteration, the Butter Board (pass the Lactaid), but sub that greasy butter for hummus loaded with all sorts of colorful, crunchy toppings and I’m there, pita chip in hand. And there’s no better way to break the Yom Kippur fast, Ashkenazi-style, than with a smoked fish board.
4. Lean Into the Tin
Speaking of Jews and fish, we’re once again leading the pack with our deep-rooted love for tinned, preserved swimmers. The Nosher covered this trend back in 2021, exploring the Jewish history, ritual and attraction of this pantry staple after delving into our collective obsession with canned tuna earlier that year. But TikTok (#tinned fish has over eight million views) and inflation have ensured that interest in this cheap, long-lasting ingredient remains strong.
Making tasty food in hard times with small budgets is practically ingrained in our DNA – we’ve got this. Just stock up on gefilte fish now, before it goes viral.
5. Street Food — But Not as You Know It
Living next door to Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market has many perks, one being the privilege of watching a cuisine evolve before my very eyes. In the past few years I’ve observed a street food renaissance, spearheaded by tattooed millennials (not your average shuk vendors). Like pop-up stalls selling shawarma made with high-quality lamb and carefully selected toppings (bitter tahini but not hummus, pico de gallo instead of chopped salad, no greasy fries). Or the rise of the schnitzel sandwich: fried to order and served inside a sweet challah roll with house sauces, such preserved lemon paste and matbucha, or amba aioli.
Now that tourists are flocking back to the holy land’s restaurants and food markets, expect to see this upgraded street food appear at your local Israeli restaurant in 2023.
6. Trending Tamarind
Numerous food publications and industry leaders have predicted that tamarind will be a key ingredient in 2023, which might be the best news I’ve heard all year. I’ve long been frustrated by the lack of appreciation for this sweet-sour flavor bomb.
The Jewish history of this tangy fruit is extensive: Jewish merchants in the seventh or eighth centuries are believed to have introduced tamarind to the Middle East via the Silk Road. So, while the rest of the world plays catch-up, I highly encourage you to dig into the archives of Jewish Syrian, Indian, Georgian and Iraqi cuisine to understand the allure of tamarind. These lip-smackingly good Syrian meatballs are a great place to start.
7. I Believe I Can Fry
It’s safe to say that after #airfryerrecipes amassed nearly 2 billion views on TikTok in 2022, The Reign of the Air Fryer will continue into the new year. And, at The Nosher, we’re not mad about it. From schnitzel to latkes, this small-but-mighty kitchen tool is a great way to whip up some of our favorite fried Jewish dishes – with much less oil and much less mess.