Ever since Jews read about the new Jeni’s “Everything Bagel” ice cream flavor last week, we’ve been debating whether to attack it with our spoons or with our newfound space lasers. The news spread due to clever marketing — or maybe it was a schmear campaign — so I knew had to get the scoop lickety-split.
The Jeni’s website describes the pint as “Cream cheese ice cream with everything bagel gravel,” prompting me to wonder whether someone on their marketing team had just reached into a bucket of nouns. Picturing gravel in ice cream evokes a crying toddler who accidentally dropped their scoop on a rocky road. The “gravel” is actually from sweet rice flour mixed in with the garlic, onions, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, etc. — but I just picture breaking my teeth on rocks.
Maybe a judge needs to bring down the g(r)avel before someone adds chrain-bow sprinkles. There are so many reasons to des(s)ert this flavor. Topping the list: although savory and sweet flavors combine well, just thinking about the incongruity of adding onions and garlic and seeds to sweet ice cream makes my brain freeze. It’s like getting your ice cream sandwich on rye.
Jeni’s new ice cream flavor is why we have Facebook groups with names like “Doing this to bagels is incredibly offensive to my people.” I’ve kvetched about bagel-related matters here before, so no surprise that my initial reaction is to put this ice cream in the doghouse, wearing a cone of shame. I’m not likely to waffle on this, but I admire Jeni’s for the dairying gamble; it wasn’t a sher-bet.
The ice cream has prompted me to wonder what other Jewish-adjacent flavors might pop up in odd places. A search revealed something called “falafel pops,” which I was relieved to learn were not popsicles containing fried garbanzo balls — no need to defrost! –– but you can never be sure. A friend also told me about the fawaffle, which is falafel batter cooked in a waffle iron, and I would 100% devour that.
Maybe these economic times call for innovation. I suppose we could accept that this might be the start of a trend, then get ahead of it by brainstorming the next hot (or cold) mashup of Jewish savory flavors with unexpected desserts. Maybe schmaltz-malts? Shakshuka shakes?
Maybe these economic times call for innovation.
Here are some other products we might see soon. Influencers, work up your appetites and — if not your gravel — your grit.
Future products inspired by everything bagel ice cream:
Gefilte Frozen Yogurt
The first dessert to follow suit will be that other sweet treat in a cone. Would the gefilte fish be broken up into pieces throughout the yogurt or itself dispensed from a soft-serve machine? Could it have a catchy name, akin to “fro-yo?” Potentially “woe yo” or “hit a new low-yo” or “I could have had ice cream; now I feel like a schmo-yo.”
Instead of a layer of chocolate ganache or pistachio filling, these sweet cookies would be filled with your bubbe’s favorite chopped liver. Chopped liver could appear in other desserts too, such as cocoa-dusted liver truffles. And remember those trendy black-bean brownies from a few years back? Although “brisket brownies” has alliteration, replace the black beans with chopped liver for a smoother protein. “You’ll never guess the secret ingredient,” you can tell friends. Or the chopped liver itself could just ask, “What am I…”
Pickled-Herring Meringue Pie
The meringue on a traditional pie looks a bit like ocean waves. Why not have pickled herrings swimming around among them? (Don’t answer that.)
Kasha Varnishkes Cupcakes
Get more fiber from your cupcakes, now full of healthy buckwheat groats and sautéed onions. Frost cupcakes as usual, but add a little bowtie pasta noodle on top. Adorbs.
If all these products go well, we could open a chain to challenge the donut competition with some trendin’ tendon. Dunkin’ Donuts? Meet Flanken’ Donuts. We’d specialize in frosted fleishig — glazed or iced donuts, but they’re filled with stew. Is it too much to do to a poor donut? To our stomachs? I could think of cruller ideas.
Look, progress can’t be stopped. If there’s a market for everything bagel ice cream, that’s the way the gravel crumbles. I just hope they’ll adjust the ingredients for Passover, maybe with little bits of broken matzah instead. A month ago, I couldn’t have pictured it. Now, it might not seem so farfe(l)tched after all.
Deborah (Debs) Gardner is a public health professional, writer and semi-snarky Jew living in Seattle, WA. Our “pundemic correspondent,” she is a multi-time winner of Pundamonium Seattle, a local pun slam.