A Bagel is Just Half a Roll

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Seriously. I love bagels but they would be just as good without the hole. And why are they more expensive than a roll? This all makes no sense to me.

Okay, rant over. I’m actually writing a pro-bagel entry (the anti-bagel lobby gets far too much press. But of course you don’t realize that because they call themselves the pro-roll lobby).

I just read a pretty cool article on Slate talking about the history of the bagel, based on Maria Balinska’s book, The Bagel: A Cultural History. What interested me the most about the Slate piece is Joan Nathan’s opening anecdote about offering bagels to her neighbors as a child in order to determine whether or not they were Jewish.

mmm Bagels...

It interested me because, if nothing else, bagels have made me feel more Jewish than any other food (except Must gum, but that’s a bad thing).

Back when I lived in Sacramento, my favorite restaurant to go to was Noah’s Bagels (go to their website, it’s actually really cool). Previous to Noah’s, I was subjected to Lenders Bagels, which are really gross, not to mention packaged in Connecticut.

Sure my palate wasn’t as sophisticated as it is now (I have a strict diet of foie gras and venison), but in a town with no kosher restaurants, Noah’s Bagels allowed me to feel at home.

Of course, it was short lived, partially because I moved and partially because Noah’s changed it menu to include meat to serve their clientele. Nevertheless, it allowed me to appreciate lox and bagels and be proud to be Jewish in a non-Jewish world.

Having lived in large Jewish communities for the past 13 years has spoiled me when it comes to eating kosher. I can walk five minutes from my apartment and hitting ten kosher restaurants (Tamar just blogged about the same thing). Hell, I can even make my own bagels. But I could eat at every Schwarma place in the city and it will never compare to the egg cream and salt bagel that I would get in Northern California.

Posted on November 12, 2008

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