Today, The Guardian takes a look at the plight of the bagel, and deems New York’s “outsize, chemical and oversoft.” Ouch. However, it’s not just our fault: The depths to which the modern bagel has fallen are “an inevitable consequence of their modern popularity” — the mechanization of the production process, freezers, and the food scientists employed by companies like Lender’s have all colluded to produce today’s “tan, claggy loo seats.”
Roll that one around your brain for a delicious moment or two, and then consider the fact that although New York claims somewhat chauvinistic cultural ownership of the bagel, ours is merely one of many hooped breads; they are also traditional to countries as varied as Finland, Italy, and Egypt. And, as it happens, England, where, as in New York, Jewish immigrants did society a great service by introducing their breads to the goyim.
Should you despair too greatly of New York’s bagels, consider a trip to London’s East End, where there “are two famous ‘beigel’ shops on Brick Lane … wedged among the schmutter and drek of hipster clothing shops and crap curry houses.” For about $6, you can get “an excellent bagel, a salinated glob of fatty beef and a brown gherkin.” Well, they had us until “salinated,” at least.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 5, 2011