Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Monday, August 01, 2005

A Brief History of Bagels
and why some are better than others

My friend, BenS, says it is very difficult to find good bagels in Canada outside, maybe, Montreal. He refers to "The Great Canadian Bagel Company" as "The Great Goyisha Bagel Company" because their bagels seem like round white bread to him.

MA, who sent me this piece, says he has had good bagels in many cities in Canada.

Legend has it that in 1683 in Vienna, Austria, a local Jewish baker wanted to thank the king of Poland for protecting his countrymen from Turkish invaders. He made a special hard roll in the shape of a riding stirrup (bugel in German), commemorating the king's favorite pastime and giving the bagel its distinctive shape.

Whatever its ancestry, the doughnut-shaped roll quickly caught on, becoming a staple among Eastern Europeans. In Yiddish, they were called beygel; in Russian, bubliki; in Polish, obazanki. Bagels, like other ring-shaped objects, soon became the standard gift for women in childbirth because they were said to bring good luck and possess magical powers.

When the Eastern European Jewish immigrants arrived in North America at the turn of the century, they brought the bagel with them. The American bagel industry established formal roots in New York between 1910 and 1915 with the formation of Bagel Bakers. This exclusive group of 300 craftsmen with "bagels in their blood" limited its membership to sons of its members.

The bagel is the only bread product that is boiled before it is baked.

And therein lies the problem with some of the non-authentic bagelries. They steam their bagels, instead of boiling them. The result is not as chewy.
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