Friday, July 12, 2013

E is for Everything Bagel

Bagels are familiar to most people - either as bagels or as variants of the same. They are traditionally considered part of Jewish cuisine and, in the USA, are eaten with cream cheese and lox by Jews and with cream cheese or with meat, egg and cheese by others for breakfast. Quite frankly, a good bagel is good at almost any time of the day.

Bagels are very much like soft pretzels in taste and texture, but their production (and shape) is somewhat different, giving them each their own distinct characteristics. I can understand the similarities when you realize that Germany and Poland at one time were conjoined and their cuisines would have taken on similar cultural characteristics. Bagels are boiled or steamed before being baked to give their surfaces the look and feel we've come to know. Pretzels undergo a similar process, but undergo an alkaline bath prior to baking which provides them with a darker and glossier surface.

Since I'm talking about the Everything Bagel, I will allow Grub Street to describe what this iconic bagel is: a bagel with a "frenetic coating of poppy, caraway, and sesame seeds, plus salt, garlic, and onion." It seems a teenage boy named David Gussin who was working in a bagel bakery came up with the idea for an Everything bagel while cleaning up all the burned seeds from the oven. The idea took off and has become so wildly popular that many consider it the only bagel to have.

Breakfast bagels that include fruits are usually made with a sweeter dough. I, personally, love sausage, egg and cheese on a cinnamon raisin bagel. But, I'm also a fan of McDonald's Steak, Egg and Cheese on a plain bagel. I have eaten Everything bagels, but I prefer them sliced in half, toasted and buttered.

Do you like bagels? How do you eat them?

Bagel image is from Wikimedia Commons.

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