Despite all the stereotypes about Jewish mothers, mine did not die when I got my first tattoo. When I was younger, I clearly remember her telling me that she would prefer that my sister and I not get tattoos when we were adults, and passed on the oft-repeated idea that one cannot be buried in a Jewish cemetery if they have tattoos. As a matter of fact, the latter sentiment is not true. As for the former, my mom softened and came around when I told her that my first tattoo would be for our beloved family dog, Reese.
Over the years, I’ve filled out a few more tattoos on my body — forget-me-nots on my forearm, a pomegranate tree on my ankle, a dancing woman on my thigh. But over the last few years, I’ve noticed food tattoos are becoming more and more trendy. As Ella Sklaw, a Jewish tattoo artist who counts me as one of their clients, told Taste, it used to be that no one wanted their vintage-inspired cake designs. “Now, all of a sudden, everyone wants cake tattoos,” they explained. “I put one in my book, and I know it’s going to go immediately.”
Another Brooklyn-based tattoo artist, Kelly Kikcio, noted that food tattoos seem to be expanding from just chefs to just about anyone. “It’s not the same as the previous era, where I’m throwing a huge beet on my arm because I cook,” she said. “It’s more of, ‘I am existing as a human, and this is an experience that brings me pleasure and is part of my life.’”
But what about Jewish food tattoos? While there doesn’t seem to be a specific trend around tattoos of Jewish culinary delicacies, there is something devilishly delicious about getting an image of Jewish food (something our community loves) permanently etched onto one’s body as a tattoo (something our community still generally feels conflicted about). So, I turned to the internet to find some.
Honorable mentions go to celebrities Zoey Deutch for her matzah ball tattoo and Joey King for her tattoo of hummus spelled in Hebrew. As well as the person who submitted their kosher symbol tattoo to @jews.withtattoos on Instagram.
And now, without further ado and in alphabetical order, here are the 17 best Jewish food tattoos on the internet:
Carciofi alla Guidia or Jewish-style artichokes are the most iconic dish of Roman Jews. Though these tattoos aren’t specifically of a fried artichoke, they are beautiful nonetheless.
Who doesn’t love Zabar’s babka? Bonus points for difficulty: This tattoo was handpoked!
This everything bagel complete with the Hebrew/Yiddish word “mishpacha” (family) is well, everything.
This tattoo is so good that I can tell just how fresh that black and white cookie is. In the immortal words of Cookie Monster, “Om nom nom!”
While there are plenty of challah tattoos out there to choose from, I picked this one because sharing is caring.
6. Fish Head
The fish head on a Rosh Hashanah seder plate isn’t always eaten. Still, it’s a potent symbol of the “head” of the new year.
7. Gefilte Fish
This jar of Manischewitz gefilte fish is still on the flash sheet, so it’s unclear if anyone has actually gotten it tattooed… maybe you should take this as a sign!
8. Hot Dog
German Jewish immigrants invented the hot dog so this person could get a gorgeous Chicago dog tattooed on their thigh!
Not only are food tattoos in right now, but so is tinned fish.
The tattoo artist may call this work a “mazel tov cocktail,” but I’m just here to appreciate the realistic Manischewitz kosher wine bottle!
11. Matzah Ball Soup
This hyper-realistic tattoo has my mouth watering.
Mint tea in traditional glasses is a staple in Moroccan homes, including Jewish ones!
The marbled rye, the cole slaw, thick cuts of pastrami, maybe some sauerkraut and dressing… all I can say is, yum.
It’s unclear if this tiny jar of pickles is kosher dill, but it is 100% adorable.
In Judaism, the pomegranate is a powerful symbol of love, fertility, the 613 commandments and, to me, sapphic Jewishness. So naturally it’s a fabulous and popular choice for a Jewish food tattoo.
L’chaim, to Jewish champagne!
17. Rye Bread
I prefer Levy’s rye, but I don’t hold it against this lovely tattoo.