Archive for the ‘Food Kvetch’ Category

The Big Bagel Burtch Part Deux

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Now that I’ve cleared up the proper use of the word bagel, (see my post for the Big Bagel Burtch Part 1 from November 25 by clicking here), it’s time to address the real crux of The Big Bagel Burtch.

Yes, I was born and raised in Montreal, The Bagel Capital of the North and I spend as much time as I can in New York, The Bagel Capital of The South. I am not going to participate in the debate over which capital has the better bagel – not yet anyway. If you’re in to that debate look at the New York Times City Room article I have linked to by clicking here.

What I really want to burtch about is the ridiculous amount of bagel “flavours.” Where is it written that a bagel should be flavoured? Oy!

So here’s the thing. The bagel, as originally conceived, was baked in two varieties. Got that? Two varieties, not flavours. When you went to the Bagel Factory you stood in line and were seduced by the wonderful smell of freshly baked bagel. As you made your way to the front of the line you only had one thought on your mind: poppy or sesame. And, by the way, most people bought their bagel at The Bagel Factory. Very few conventional bakeries sold bagel unless they were re-selling Bagel Factory Bagel.

So where did we go wrong? What happened? Now it seems everybody is selling bagel – and not just poppy or sesame! They’ve got garlic, chive, pumpernickel, oatmeal raisin, one grain, three grain, nine grain, multigrain and… and… blueberry! FEH!!!

Save the bagel in its original form! Cast aside flavours and embrace the variety in poppy or sesame bagel only.  Build Bagel Factories and the people will come!

Here’s my fantasy, which takes me back a bit to the days when the Bagel was truly respected. By the way, if you can find a copy of Don Bell’s book titled “Saturday Night at the Bagel Factory, and Other Montreal Stories” it will help you appreciate my fantasy.

You usually only bought bagel on Saturday night and ate two or three of them in the car on the way home. The rest were for Sunday morning breakfast when they were smothered with butter or fresh cream cheese and lox – either salted or unsalted of course.

That’s what made Sunday morning special and that’s what made a bagel special.

The Big Bagel Burtch Part 1

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

I was born and raised in Montreal. It is the bagel capital of Canada and the world as far as I’m concerned. I know, I know there is another bagel capital: New York. So I am well qualified to burtch and kvetch about bagel.

The word bagel is a collective noun! That means that its plural form is bagel! I have this on good authority. The owners of my favourite and best Deli in the world agree. My Rabbi agrees. Friends and relatives in Canada and the United States agree. And my grade four teacher Mrs. Rosenbloom agreed that the correct plural usage of the word bagel is bagel. I remember her saying, “I have to go to Fairmont and pick up two dozen bagel.”

Think about words like fish, carp, petchah, peyos, cabbage, lamb and shank as in shank bone. You wouldn’t say, “Zaidy picked up three carps for the Gefilte Fishes.” And you wouldn’t say, “I went to get my peyoses cut.” – well, you wouldn’t ever say that!

So stop with the bagels and get with the bagel.