bagel

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bagel

Post by Archived Topic » Wed Jun 09, 2004 6:58 am

originated poland 1610 fact or mythology?
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bagel

Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jun 09, 2004 7:13 am

Not sure, but it is a possibility.
According to local legend, the Fairmount Bakery in Montréal is where the first bagel was made. It was a variation on a baked item brought to the area by "Eastern European" Jews early in the last century. All I can remember is reading (at least 10 years ago) the newspaper article which had been posted in the store front. When I moved from Montréal to Ottawa in the late 70s, after the friends and nightlife real bagels was the thing I missed most here.
There was a store that "imported" bagels from Montréal, but it was never the same as getting them steaming hot from the oven.
I am happy to report that there is a bagel shop in Ottawa that was proclaimed producer of the best bagel in the world by the Robb Report.
The bagels are very good, and it isn't so much of a trip to get an authentic bagel any more. As for best in the world, I am sure that is debatable.
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Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jun 09, 2004 7:27 am

Oops, new computer, new browser, no login.
Ian Patrick
Ottawa, Ontario
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Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jun 09, 2004 7:41 am

Story told to me by Angel a well known baker in Israel. An American visitor asked to be shown how they make pitta bread. Angel showed them how the bakers flattened the dough on naked stomachs. The American fell about laughing. He was wondering what part of the anatomy they used to make bagels.
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Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jun 09, 2004 7:56 am

After a long day's bagel-baking, the bakers used to go home exhausted and wondering how long they could keep it up.
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Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jun 09, 2004 8:10 am

This subject hits a chord with me and is one that is near and dear to my bagel-lovin’ heart, stomach, and palate. So, I will spill my guts on bagels. And besides I’m sick of working on my taxes (it’s Sunday night April 13 and I’ve got along ways to go, and need a break).

I believe there were very few periods in my life when I have gone any length of time without having my bagel fix (excepting 2 years in Alaska in the 60’s). I was practically weaned on bagels. In fact, and my mother didn’t, but there were parents who actually gave their babies bagels or pieces of bagels to suck on instead of pacifiers – maybe she did slip me one once in a while or maybe the craving is just encoded in my Jewish genes. I would often stop on the way home from elementary school to have my bagel or a ‘pickle for a nickel’ right out of the barrel, and later in high school for my beloved knish (a potato cake thingy, but that’s a whole nother story, which regretfully has never made it to Fort Collins) – I’m getting hungry just thinking about this stuff. Not a Sunday went by in my childhood, that we didn’t have bagels (never toasted in those days), cream cheese, and lox (I also liked tomatoes and lettuce on it, hold the onions) and not many days now go by when I don’t go to Gibb’s Bagels, sit down, and luxuriate in eating my bagel, having a cup of real, fresh roasted coffee, while reading the newspaper. Incidentally, some people don’t realize that there was once a time, when bagels were almost non-existent (at least in the U.S.) outside of just a handful of cities, including Montreal and NYC.

A few words on what constitutes a good bagel. This is absolutely a matter of taste. I was raised on a certain style of bagel and like fine wine, I have my preferences. I can detect the nuances of chewiness/texture, bouquet, flavor, moisture content, and crust. I have my own vision of the ultimate bagel (which could be found in any self-respecting bagel shop in Brooklyn in mid 20th century Brooklyn and on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and possibly at other NYC locations. [By happenstance I have actually found the ultimate bagel once again (a la a displaced NYC baker) in Fort Collins (that’s not why I moved here, but might be a good reason for not leaving)]

When I visited Montreal two summers ago, I was told not to miss going to Beauty’s Bagels or St.-Viateur Bagels. I heard the food critic of the venerable NYC Jewish newspaper the ‘Jewish Forward’ (or the ‘Forvids,’ as my grandfather used to call it) interviewed on NPR and say that in his opinion the world’s greatest bagel was that made by Beauty’s Bagels in Montreal. Well, I went, I saw, and I ate and Ho Hum. It was a peculiar, a not quite right, an unexciting bagel in my view, and it was small, with too big a hole and the crust had a peculiar flavor (it was honey – they actually sullied the purity of the sacred bagel by putting honey in the water when they boiled it – it should be noted, though, that any ‘real’ bagel is first boiled and then baked. Now, the food editor of the Forward is no Sunday duffer when it comes to bagels, so I must respect his opinion, but it “weren’t” my kind of bagel.

One more personal point. I like my bagels unadulterated (OK maybe poppy seed or onion), but what’s with this blueberry, pesto, and chocolate chip baloney– it's sacrilege, it's desecration of the temple. I guess I’m an old-school purist and a chauvinist New York bagelistic pig.

Let’s just talk about ‘really bad’ bagels for a moment. In the 1960’s a fellow named Lender introduced the frozen bagel to your local U.S. supermarket. Now I have to commend the guy for trying to give it a go, but the result was what I would call a ‘pathetic bagel,’ and I have eaten one or two on occasion, but those were strictly desperation situations, and I have vowed ‘never again!’ Probably the worst excuse for a bagel I have ever tasted in my life, however, even a notch beyond a Lenders, was the Einstein’s Bagel. That bagel made me angry. Everything about that bagel was wrong. I don’t believe it was even boiled, and it tasted like a piece of Wonderbread. Well, Allah be saved, the one near my house closed down and I hope by now that the entire chain has been put out of its misery – what they were selling was an insult to the name ‘bagel’ and whoever came up with that recipe didn’t know a bagel from a hole in the wall (in my humble opinion).
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And now the history of the bagel. There are many legends about its origin and none of them are for sure. I have tried to give a few of the more creditable accounts below. There are many places that claim that the bagel was invented here, from New York to Montreal, to Germany, to Austria, to Poland and many of the tales sound pretty reasonable, but some aren’t. Most reliable sources say that its origin was in central Europe.

Seems like, sorry Fairmount Bakery, Montreal, and even, believe it or not, Sadie Bagel. Sadie was an old friend of the family who lived in Montreal and claimed that bagels had been in Montreal from time immemorial. I wish Sadie were still alive so that I could now ask her unbiased (she didn’t own a bagel factory) opinion of what she knew, and also where the heck her family name came from – seems like with a moniker like that she might have really known something about bagels, but I was always a little embarrassed to ask, figuring she had absorbed enough flack in her life from that handle. My grandfather, who came to the U.S. from Russia in 1906 at the age of 18, did tell me that that he had never seen a bagel until he got off the boat, and settled directly in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, as many Jews did. I recall our wonderful weekly visits to my grandparents house at 202 Henry Street (on the same block as Lillian Wald’s famous Henry Street Settlement, one of the nation's first settlement homes founded in response to the urban conditions faced by the poor as a result of rapid industrialization and the flood of immigration. We’d travel by trolley (to last stop in Brooklyn) and then take the subway (under the East River to Manhattan and get off at Delancey), and then walk over to Henry. The streets would be teeming with pushcart venders and the smells of the one-flight-down entrepreneurs making such things as bagels and other goodies in their ovens. By the way, I used to watch the bagel makers and never did see them using the method of Angel, Melvyn, and Erik, although they may have reverted to their standard charade – rolling them by hand – when they saw women and children coming.

Nevertheless, although Montreal does have the oldest Jewish community and synagogue in the Americas, it appears that they were just too late when it came to the bagel. Jews were not even allowed to live in Canada under French rule. Therefore, the earliest record of Jews in Canada dates back to after the Seven Years War when the British took over. Three Jews were among the officers on the staff of British General Amherst: Aaron Hart, Emmanuel Cordova, and Isaac Miramer. After Canada became a British possession a number of Jews (some fur traders and others veterans of the conquering British Army) settled in Montreal, and that had to be after the Treaty of Paris in 1763. In 1768, Montreal's first synagogue, Shaarei Israel, was established. It was a Sephardic (Jews of Spain and Portugal) synagogue and the Sephardics were never particularly known for their bagel making.
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The following are some supposed bagel-related dates, including, the alluded to, 1610 date along with the standard King Sobieski of Poland story:

In 1610, the community of Cracow Poland, states that "bagels" will be given as gifts to women in childbirth.

In 1683, a Viennese baker wanted to bake special bread to honor King John III Sobieski of Poland for saving the city from Turkish invaders. He became known as "Vaneusker of the Turks" the King was a skilled horseman, so he baked the bread in the shape of a riding stirrup. The Austrian word for "stirrup" is "Beugel". As the Beugels popularity spread throughout Eastern Europe, the name evolved but the formula and tradition remained unchanged for three centuries.

In 1880, thousands of Eastern European Jews immigrate to the USA. They bring with them a desire for bagels. On New York’s Lower East Side street vendors are selling bagels.

In 1920, Joseph & Isaac Breakstone market a new item called "Cream Cheese". It became a big hit with the New York Jewish Community and became a standard spread for bagels.

In 1962, a gentlemen, named Mr. Murray Lender sells frozen bagels in your local supermarket. His dream was a 'bagel in every toaster.'
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Encyclopedia Britannica:

The origin of the bagel is not known, but it seems to have its roots in central Europe. A widely repeated legend traces its history to Vienna in 1683, when John III Sobieski, king of Poland, successfully defended the city from a Turkish invasion. A local baker, wishing to commemorate the victory of this accomplished horseman, fashioned his bread in the shape of a stirrup (the present-day German word for which is Bügel). In the late 19th century, European Jewish immigrants introduced the bagel to the United States, where it gained a popular association with New York City. The American bagel industry expanded rapidly in the late 20th century; bagel bakeries and frozen-food distributors created numerous variations on the traditional form and texture.
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Another reputable source was the one Melvyn mentioned in the ‘English Words from Hebrew’ posting which I also own and enjoy, ‘The New Joys of Yiddish’ by Leo Rosten. Here are some excerpts from what he had to say:

From German, ‘Beugel’ a round loaf of bread. Yiddishist Gerald Stillman argues (in ‘Jewish Currents,’ May 2000) that “’Bagel’ comes from the Yiddish word for ‘to bend,’ which is ‘beygn’ if you’re a ‘Litvak’ and ‘baygn’ if you’re a ‘Galitzyaner’”[there are many varieties of Jews and these are two which were sort of rivals, each thinking they were a bit better than the other (according to Rosten, Litvaks were originally from Lithuania, and the Galitzianer was a Jew form Galicia a province of Poland/ Austria). A standard question that I remember from my childhood when two adult Jews met for the first time was ‘Litvak or Galitzianer?’ Wonder why I never heard anyone reply, ‘neither’ because the two main branches of Jewry are the Askenazi (Yiddish-speakers of central and eastern Europe) and the Sephardic (of Spain, Portugal, and southern France) and there are many other subgroups of Jews such as the German (Deutsch), Polish (Poylish), Russians (all Askenazim), etc.]

Because bagels were made of white flour, they were considered great delicacies in eastern Europe, where the poor Jews (and most Jews were very poor) ate black bread except on the Sabbath, when the queen of breads, ‘challah, was eaten.

A bagel and hard-boiled eggs were traditionally served in Jewish homes after a funeral, for they were thought to symbolize the unending ‘round’ process of life in the world. A bagel was [also] supposed to be lucky because it was round [a significant and universal shape with no beginning and no end].

The first printed mention of bagels is to be found in the Community Regulations of Cracow, Poland, for the year 1610 – which stated that bagels would be given as a gift to any women in childbirth.
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Again (this is getting to be a habit), but this is probably more than any sane person needs or wants to know about bagels.
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Ken G - April 14, 2002
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Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jun 09, 2004 8:39 am

Thank you, Ken, for your exhausting work on the genealogy of the bagel. I don't believe that I will ever view a bagel the same.

Leif (who can never delight in a bagel again)
Eatonville, WA, USA
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Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jun 09, 2004 8:53 am

Leif has never travelled in quest of a good bagel.
I never tried Beauty's Bagels. I do recommend Fairmount though. It does have the oldest bagel oven in Montréal. Although they have many "flavoured" they still carry the regulars including poppyseed and sesame seed. They make a nice pumpernickle[sp] raisin as a breakfast bagel.
The Ottawa Bagelshop (the local spot that saves the long trip) sells miniature bagels as "teething" bagels. They are very baby-friendly, and I was often given one for a child while waiting for my adult order to come out of the oven.
And yes, they are enjoyed most fresh from the oven with nothing on them. My guess is they are also a healthy food until you add cream cheese and/or salmon, or salami etc.
Ian Patrick
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jun 09, 2004 9:08 am

My maternal grandparents came to England from Krakow Poland. They always used the spelling beigel (emphasis on the I). The best ones in the old days were from the street sellers. There was one particular old lady who sold them from a sack covered basket outside Blooms Restaurant in Whitechapel. In those days a beigel was a lot smaller than it is today, and had a lovely firm crust, not crispy, and with delicious doughy centre. We used to enjoy them with a nice slice of smoked Scotch salmon and a squeeze of lemon. There were no extra flavourings which sad to say have now become the norm.

These days I often use BAGELNOSH as an internet password.
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Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jun 09, 2004 9:22 am

But now that you have told us all about it, you will have to kill us all, eh?

Life's a puzzler sometimes!
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Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jun 09, 2004 9:37 am

Thanks Erik. You have forced me into using "Hamentaschen "instead. I sure will not be able to raid my bank account now.
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Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jun 09, 2004 9:51 am

THE QUESTION WAS NOT: 1.me & the bagel 2. the bagel in
canada. 3.what goes on bagels. whether you like what i like
on bagels. 4. what kinds of bagels are available. 5.bagels
in england.6. bagels in poland. 7.bagels in poland. but i digress.
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Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jun 09, 2004 10:05 am

Sometimes you just have to howl along to the tune of the other wolves in the pack, especially when you're only an interchangeably anonymous member of the chorus.
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Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jun 09, 2004 10:20 am

How about bagels in Ulan Bator, Zamboanga,Ougadougou,
Katmandu? You call yourselves Wizards?
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Post by Archived Reply » Wed Jun 09, 2004 10:34 am

Even a babel of unstable bagel mavens need not get anal. You finagled that label!
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