Ah, New York in the ’80s. Crack vials everywhere, dog shit glazing the sidewalks, signs on car windshields: “Door open. Please don’t break window.” And bagels, real chewy, hard-crusted New York bagels that ripped your dental work out. I guess I can do without the whores in Times Square, but I have missed those bagels. Whenever someone tells me they have found “real” bagels, I run like a fool to check it out. Usually, I am bitterly disappointed. Real bagels aren’t soft and pillow-y. Just being a roll with a hole in the middle doesn’t qualify something as a bagel. Real bagels have to hurt when you bite into them. Like all true Semitic things, they fight back.
Baron’s bagels, currently sold most mornings at Saul’s near my Mom’s house, pass the pain test. They are smaller than the NYC bagels of my youth and unlike those bagels, these bagels taste of something. I remember bagels as tasting…blank. They were a canvas for the things you put on them.
In this case, it was vegan cream cheese from Vegan Gourmet, my current fav fake cream cheese.
I’m just grateful someone is at least trying to create a proper bagel. It was so depressing to me to see the proliferation of baked bagel shops, leading a whole generation of people to think that fluffy rolls with a hole were actual bagels. Of course the reason nobody boils bagels anymore (even in New York, with very few exceptions) is that a boiled bagel has a small shelf life. By tomorrow, my Baron’s bagels will be door stops.
And that’s how it should be when you are dealing with a Real Bagel.