Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Forge & Vine: Groton's New Culinary Destination

Several of my friends and relatives who live in the Groton area have complained about the scarcity of good restaurants in the area. Fortunately for them, a new restaurant, Forge & Vine, opened last October and it's a worthy culinary destination. It's been getting some raves and I was recently invited, as a media guest, to check out the restaurant and its intriguing wine list. I'll definitely return on my own as well, to enjoy more of their menu.

Forge & Vine sits behind The Groton Inn, a new luxury hotel which is situated on a historic spot. A hostelry was established on this site around 1678 and it hosted a number of Colonial era luminaries, such as Paul Revere. In 2011, the inn burnt to the ground but a new hotel was eventually constructed and it opened last May. The restaurant is located on the site of the original inn's blacksmith shop.

The restaurant has about 156 seats,  a 26-seat bar, a four-season outdoor patio a private dining room seating up to 20. They have an open kitchen, showcasing their eight-foot wood-fired grill, and we were seated not far from the grill. The restaurant possesses a casual ambiance, fine for a romantic date or a night out with friends. On a Friday evening, the restaurant was packed and a relative mentioned visiting on another occasion when there was a 2 1/2 hour wait on a weekend night. If you want a table on weekends, you definitely should make reservations.

There is a small amount of counter seating, the chef's table, where guests can enjoy dinner, overlooking the kitchen.

The restaurant has a full alcohol menu, beers, wines, and cocktails. At the 26-seat bar, there are four TVs where you can watch local sports. Their Signature Cocktail List includes 10 cocktails, priced $11-$13, such as the Bourbon Chartreuse Smash, Eclipse Rum Punch, and Paloma Sunrise. After dinner, we sat at the bar for a final cocktail, and I enjoyed the well-made Blueberry Mezcal Mule, made with Mezcal, muddled blueberries, lime, & ginger beer.

There are 23 options on their Wine List By The Glass, including 2 Sparkling, 2 Rosé, 10 Whites, and 9 Reds, reasonably priced at $8-$14. The list has some usual and popular choices, from California, Washington, France, Italy, Argentina, Spain, and more. The Wine List By The Bottle, with over 100 options, has more exciting options and is described as "a mix of old world and new world with a lean toward biodynamic wines." The list is broken into eight sections which they describe as "Baskets" and each section lists the white wines first and then the red wines, each group listed from lightest to heaviest.

The "baskets" include Biodynamic-Farmed & Natural; CommencementPizza Oven & Pasta Makers; Raw BarWood Grill; By The FireLingering At The Table; and Crowd Pleasers. These groupings will help diners select wines to pair with their food, and the servers can also offer advice. Our server seemed to have a good grasp of the wine list, and selected some very delicious and interesting wines for our dinner.

The vast majority of wines are priced from $24-$95, with about 20 wines priced over $100, so there are options at all price points. If you want to splurge, there are wines for you, including Champagne, French Burgundy and California Cabernet Sauvignon. If you're part of a large party, you can consider the two wines listed under Crowd Pleasers, the Veuve Cliquot Yellow Label Brut ($1000) and Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon ($1200). Both of these wines are offered in Imperial Bottles (also known as Methuselahs) which each hold 6 liters, the equivalent of 8 standard bottles.

On the list, you'll find some of the usual suspects, highly popular wines that will please a number of people, such as Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio and Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay. However, there are also a significant number of less common wines, intriguing wines from countries like Bulgaria and Lebanon, as well as a significant number of compelling Natural wines. The basket of Biodynamic-Farmed & Natural has 14 options, priced $28-$61, except one at $175, and the wines are from France, Italy, and Greece. During my dinner, I tasted 3 of these wines and was impressed with the selections, and will provide more detail about each choice later in this article.

The wine list caters to varied groups, from those who want the most popular choices, to those seeking something more unique. Too many similar types of restaurants opt only for the more popular wines, unwilling to place riskier choices on their list. For example, natural wines are much more of a hand-sell though the wines would please many people if they were willing to take a chance on them. Kudos to Forge & Vine for creating a wine list that will excite even wine geeks.

The Food Menu, which changes seasonally, is extensive without being overwhelming. It includes Starters (8 options at $8-$18, such as Country Style Ribs, Blue Hill Bay Mussels, Spring Pea Risotto), Shared Plates (7 options at $10-$22, such as New England Cheese Plate, Tuna Tartare, Smoked Bluefish Pate), Salads (3 options at $10-$12), Raw Bar (Oysters, Littleneck Clams, Oyster Shooter, Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, and Chilled Seafood Platter), Flatbreads (6 options at $15 each, such as Margherita, Spicy Sausage, Fig & Prosciutto), Plates (12 options at $15-$42, such as 1/2 Rotisserie Chicken, 10 oz. NY Strip, Potato Crusted Cod, Shrimp Linguini), Entrees for Two (Rotisserie All Natural Chicken $35 and 32 oz Wood-Grilled Ribeye $60), and Sides (8 options at $6, such as Duck Fat Potatoes, Wood Grilled Asparagus, Loaded Sweet Potato).

There are plenty of comfort food options on the menu, and you could dine on a number of small plates, or order a larger entree. They use many local ingredients, such as Little Leaf greens, and there are options for meat lovers, seafood lovers and vegetarians. Many of the dishes can be found on plenty of other menus, except that Forge & Vine often infuses their own unique twists. For example, the Tuna Tartare includes macadamia nuts while the Country Style Ribs use a Vermont maple barbecue sauce. I sampled several items on the menu but there were plenty of other dishes that I wanted to taste as well, which I'll have to do another time.

As you peruse the menu and wait for your first dish to arrive, you're presented with complimentary bread, hearty rustic slices, and some tasty, briny olives.

Our first wine of the evening was the 2017 Laurent Cazottes Champetre Blanc ($48), from the Gaillac region of south western France. It is produced from 100% Mauzac Blanc, a grape that is indigenous to this region, and which is new to me. The wine is fermented in stainless steel with native yeasts, aged in tank on its fine lees, and isn't fined or filtered. The wine is also certified organic and Biodynamic. With a 12% ABV, this was an impressive white wine, one I want to buy so I can enjoy it all summer long. It was crisp and light, fresh and clean, with delicious citrus, especially lemon and pear notes. Excellent acidity, a lengthy finish, and a few floral hints. Pure pleasure and it would be a great pairing with seafood too. My highest recommendation.

With this wine, we opted for some Jumbo Shrimp cocktail ($3 each) and 4 different Oysters ($3 each), accompanied by a spicy cocktail sauce, champagne mignonette, and horseradish. The fresh seafood went great with the Champetre Blanc, especially the briny oysters.

The ample plate of Crispy Fried Point Judith Calamari ($14) is made with chorizo, cherry peppers, and baby kale. The calamari was tender, with a clean, crunchy coating, and the chorizo made for an excellent addition. A well prepared dish. It too paired well with the Champetre Blanc. 

Our second wine was the 2017 Kontozisis Organic Vineyards A-Grafo Roditis ($61), a Greek wine made from 100% Roditis, an indigenous grape. It is made in the Ramato style, a type of skin-contact wine, which sometimes is referred to as an "orange wine." It had an intriguing aroma and taste, a delightful blend of citrus and savory notes, a touch of pineapple and earthiness. Crisp acidity, lengthy finish and quite delicious. And definitely makes an interesting food wine.

There are six Flatbread options, all priced at $15 each, and a gluten free option is available too. We opted for the White Clam Flatbread, with chopped surf clams, parsley, and bacon lardons. Quite compelling! The crust was crisp and slightly chewy, just the right texture you'd like for this flatbread, and there was plenty of melted cheese, salty bacon, and slightly briny clam pieces. All of the ingredients meshed well together, one of those times when seafood and cheese definitely makes a complimentary pairing.

The third wine was the 2017 Tiberi, ‘L Rosso ($60), from Umbria, Italy, made from a blend of Gamay and Ciliegiolo. This is also a natural wine, which was unfiltered and unfined, and aged for about 8 months in stainless steel. It is light bodied and fresh, with a pleasing blend of red fruit and spice, and a touch of rusticness. Easy drinking, but with some complexity, it was delicious and would pair well this summer with grilled meats.

As a cornbread lover, I had to order the Side of Anson Mills Skillet Cornbread ($6), which is topped with a scoop of molasses butter. It met my high expectations, being properly moist with a rich corn flavor and the butter added a nice sweetness with the intriguing tang of the molasses. I would certainly order it again, and again. Highly recommended!

The Blood Farm Cheeseburger ($16) is accompanied by spicy aioli, bread & butter pickles, lettuce, onion and Vermont cheddar, with except but the cheddar on the side. The burger was thick and juicy, with a nice tang from the cheddar, and the homemade pickles were tasty. This hearty burger, with a soft, seeded roll, hits all the right points, from a good burger to bun ratio, to its amount of char. Plus, the meat is sourced from a local farm in Groton. With the burger, are hand cut fries, and they were properly crisp with a fluffy interior. Another good option on the menu.

I also had to try their version of Poutine ($12), with shredded short rib, brown gravy, and Maple Brook Farm cheese curd. The shredded short rib was moist, tender and flavorful and the gravy was tasty too. Both very good elements in this version of poutine. My only quibble is that all of the cheese was melted. I was expecting the usual, slightly melted curds, which still had some of that springy texture to them. That textural element adds to the appeal of poutine to me, also separating it from simple cheese fries.

The small Dessert menu has five options, four prices at $9 and one at $8. The first four options include Carrot Cake, Chevre Cheesecake, Chocolate Amaretto Panna Cotta, and Coconut Rice Pudding. The last option is the Frozen Treat Selection, which includes ice cream and sorbet. After recently writing an article on the History of Carrot Cake, I decided to select the Carrot Cake for dessert, which has pineapple caramel, sunflower seed, and cream cheese frosting. The cake was moist and tasty, with nuts and no raisins, and the pineapple caramel was an intriguing addition. Though I usually am not a big fan of cream cheese frosting, this had a lighter version which was appealing. A fine ending to our dinner.

Our last wine was the 2016 Boschendal Chardonnay Pinot Noir, a South African wine with a pale pink color, and a fascinating blend of flavors, from bright strawberry to hints of apple. It is crisp and light, an elegant wine that would make a fine aperitif or accompaniment to dessert.

Overall, Forge & Vine is a fine addition to the culinary scene of the Groton area. The food was delicious, well prepared, and numerous dishes use local ingredients. From my location, I saw plenty of other dishes leaving the kitchen, and they were visually appealing, especially the Rack of Lamb. This is largely comfort food, well-made and with their own unique spin. The wine list by the bottle is impressive, with a significant amount of more unique wines which should appeal to any wine lover. Their cocktails are also well-made. Service was excellent, and there were plenty of servers working that evening, ensuring everyone received sufficient attention. I strongly recommend you dine at Forge & Vine

Monday, May 20, 2019

Rant: Restaurant Social Media Fail

For restaurants, social media can be daunting. What is the best way to use social media to promote their restaurant? How often should they post on social media? What should they post? What shouldn't they post? However, there is one simple matter where some restaurants fail and there is no reason why they should fail in this regard.

Consider this: A writer has written a positive review of a restaurant. That writer posts about their review on social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, tagging the restaurant. Obviously, a restaurant should be pleased to receive a positive review and want to spread the news of that review, to hopefully entice more customers. So, what should the restaurant do in response to this review?

At a bare minimum, the restaurant should share the review on their own social media. For example, on Twitter, they should Like the writer's tweet but also Retweet it. Merely Liking it isn't sufficient as that doesn't bring notice of the review to a restaurant's Twitter followers. By Retweeting it though, all of a restaurant's followers can then see the review. And some of those followers might further Retweet it, spreading it even further. The same applies to Facebook, where merely posting a response, such as a Like or Love, isn't sufficient. A restaurant should Share the post on their own page, ensuring their followers get to see the positive review. And those followers might Share the post too.

With all the difficulty of operating a successful restaurant, restaurants need to do whatever they can to attract customers, and highlighting positive reviews can be important. All of this Retweeting and Sharing is simple and quick. Yet it can have a significant impact so there is no reason you shouldn't be doing this. There is no downside.

I've seen too many restaurants who may Like a social media restaurant review post, but then fail to Retweet or Share it. That is a simple fix. And I've also seen some of the positive impact from Retweeting and Sharing. It can lead to far more potential diners reading a positive review, as many as ten times as much than those who would have read the review if the restaurant hadn't shared it.

Restaurants, whenever a writer posts about a positive review on social media, take a few seconds to Retweet and Share that post. It will only help you and costs nothing to do so.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Thursday Sips & Nibbles

I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I highlight some interesting, upcoming food & drink events.
1) Sumiao Hunan Kitchen is bringing the experience of a backyard Louisiana crawfish boil to the heart of Cambridge’s Kendall Square. Now in peak crawfish season through early July, SHK is getting shipments of the live crustacean every weekend, directly from Louisiana so guests can enjoy as fresh as possible!

Order up their “13 Spices Spicy Crawfish” available Fridays-Sundays (paired with an ice cold beer on the patio!) and choose from two sizes: 2.5 lbs. for $58 or 1.75 lbs. for $30.

For reservations, please call 617-945-0907

2) Tonight, Thursday, May 16th, Casa Caña will be hosting its first rum tasting of the summer with Diplomatico Rum. The party will take place on the patio (weather permitting) from 6 to 8 p.m. and will feature:
--Frozen cocktails
--Passed assorted appetizers and bocaditos including gazpacho shooters, jamon croquettes and jerk chicken tostones
--Rum tasting and specialty drink samples

Tickets cost only $15 and can be purchased at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/diplomatico-rum-tasting-at-casa-cana-tickets-6154405392.
Guests must be 21+ to attend.

3) On Friday, June 7, from 8:30pm-10:30pm, check out the Meet the Brewers! A Poolside Sake Party at Hojoko.  Hojoko is hosting 10 Japanese Sake Brewers, including Miho Imada, star of Netflix's upcoming "Kampai! Sake Sisters" for a big Poolside party! (*weather permitting*). This should be a great time!

Come drink, eat and party with these Sake stars:
Miho Imada, Fukucho
Miho Fujita, Yuho
Yuri Honda, Chiyonosono
Mark Shiga, Tentaka
Tetsuro Igarashi, Tensei
Yuichiro Tanaka, Rihaku
Yuichiro Kawahito, Kawatsuru
Yaichi Doi, Takatenjin
Dr. Sato, Kanbara
Kazuhiro Yamada, Yamada Shoten
BONUS: Monica Samuels, a Sake samurai, will be in the house representing Vine Connections.

Tickets cost $45 and can be purchased online Here

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Popover Wars: Popover King vs The Popover Lady

"POP-OVERS---One cup of flour; one egg, butter the size of a nutmeg. Bake in small tin rounds."
--The Sunbury Gazette, December 11, 1858 (PA). The recipe is from Ellen U. Bacon, of Bar Mills, Maine.

Popover: A flaky, crusty roll made from egg batter and often cooked in muffin tins. When I was growing up, it seemed that many restaurants served popovers and I loved them. My mother also made popovers at home, which were a special treat. Then, they seemed to almost vanish from the restaurant scene, relegated mainly to more "old-fashioned" restaurants. However, they've been returning, and creative chefs have transformed and elevated them, such as Chef Lydia Shire's Lobster Popover.

A few places now specialize in popovers, including Popover King and The Popover Lady. Recently, I stopped at both spots, to compare their Cheese Popovers. Plus, I checked out a couple other items at Popover King, as it is the newest popover spot in the area. My biggest takeaway from my comparison of the two places? I need to return to both of them to check out more from their menus. Their Cheese Popovers are very different, and your preference will depend on the style you like better.

"POP-OVERS---Stir together one cup of flour, one of sweet milk, one of beaten egg, and butter the size of a walnut. Bake in small tin rounds--and they will be excellent for breakfast cakes."
--The Sunbury Gazette, February 11, 1860 (PA).

Located in the West End of Boston, Popover King has only recently opened and it is a small cafe where you order at the counter and then sit down and wait for your food and drink. It's a casual spot with a welcoming vibe, and the counter staff is quick to offer assistance.

The Menu has plenty of options, including New England baked goods like Anadama Bread and Boston Brown Bread. There are five main types of popovers, including Original, Cheese, Onion, Garlic and Sugar Cinnamon, priced at $4.50-$5.50, though if you buy three, you get one free. The popovers can also be ordered gluten-free. There is also a list of Specialty Popovers, priced $8.25-$10.00, which are basically filled with a variety of sweet or savory ingredients. For example, the Sir John has chocolate creme and ganache while The Yorkshire has shredded beef, warm gravy and cheese. A Brunch menu has even heartier dishes, from Pop & Lox (popover with lox and cream cheese) to Pop & Lobster (lobster salad & tomatoes).

"POP-OVERS--Two eggs, one pint of sweet milk, a little salt, and a pint and a half of flour; bake three-quarters of an hour in cups, in a hot oven."
--The Brooklyn Union, September 14, 1867 (NY)

During lunch, you'll find three Specials, the discount which basically give you a free Popover, saving you an average of $5.00.

I ordered the Special #1 ($12.50), which included the Lowborn Knight, and I selected the Cheese popover. The cheese popover came split open, with plenty of melted cheese atop it. The popover was cooked just right, with a flaky and crusty exterior and an almost spongy, eggy interior. All of the cheese added another tasty element and went well with the popover. They didn't skimp on the cheese. I'm more used to popovers where the cheese is baked into the popover but this worked quite well, and I would definitely recommend it.

The Lowborn Knight is a cheese popover with two slices of ham atop it. Almost a ham & cheese sandwich, and you could eat it that way if you wanted.

I ended my lunch with a Sugar Cinnamon Popover, which made for a delicious dessert, with just the right amount of sweetness to complement the eggy popover. Unfortunately, they apparently forgot to bring me this popover when it was ready so, after close to ten minutes, I went up to the counter to remind them and they immediately then brought it out.

"POP OVER CAKE--The following is the recipe for making the justly celebrated pop-over cake. It is said it is well worth a trial. One cup of milk, one cup of flour, one egg, a little pinch of salt; increase in proportion to the family."
--Vermont Chronicle, July 9, 1870

At the Boston Public Market, you'll find The Popover Lady, who also offers a variety of Popover treats. Their basic popovers, available in Original, Asiago Cheese, Toasted Onion, and Cinnamon Sugar, only cost $3.25-$3.50. You'll find other Popover treats as well, though for this visit, I just wanted to taste their Asiago Cheese popover.

Their Asiago Cheese popover is more similar to the type of cheese popovers are most used to, and it delivered on taste. The exterior was crusty and flaky, with a delightful eggy interior, enhanced by the ample amount of Asiago baked into it. It brought back childhood memories of the type of popovers I once used to enjoy. And it makes me want to sample more of the popovers from this spot.

So which Cheese Popover was the winner of this comparison test? It's a tough decision as both were excellent as well as very different. I would order either one of them again. Both also earn my hearty recommendation. If I must choose though, I'll opt for the the Asiago Cheese Popover from The Popover Lady,

"CORN POPOVERS--1 pint of sweet milk scalded; stir into the hot milk a coffee-cup of cornmeal, butter half the size of an egg, little salt, 3 eggs well beaten and stirred in the last thing; no soda."
--Galena Miner, Jul 17, 1879 (KS)

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Lion's Diamonds: A New Noirish-Crime Novella

Although I primarily write about food and drink, I've also penned the Tipsy Sensei series, supernatural thrillers centered on a Boston-based Sake expert who learns that the creatures from Japanese folklore are real. I've always enjoyed writing fiction and am pleased to announce that I'm published a new story today.

The Lion's Diamonds is a crime novella, a noirish tale about a diamond heist set in Massachusetts. Recently released from prison, Leonidas "the Lion" Blackwood is already looking for his next score when a perfect opportunity drops into his lap. To appease his parole officer, Leonidas works at a local church doing general cleaning maintenance. He learns that five million dollars in diamonds will be stored into a safe at the church. Leonidas isn't a safecracker but he knows the combination to the safe. The heist should be simple.

However, complications ensue, and Leonidas is soon on the run, trying to elude Russian gangsters, including a psychotic enforcer. Can Leonidas trust the sultry woman he met in a bar? Can he trust an old friend with whom he shared time in prison? Can he trust anyone? Is there any way that Leonidas can escape with the diamonds to a tropical island?

The Lion's Diamonds is available on Amazon as an e-book for only 99 cents. I hope you enjoy reading this new story and I would appreciate any feedback. And if you enjoy it, please also leave a review on Amazon. My new story has already garnered its first Five-Star review!

Double Awesome Chinese Food: Tasty New Cookbook from Mei Mei

'‘Mei Mei” means little sister in Mandarin - our restaurant is an expression of our favorite childhood eating experiences as Chinese-American kids growing up in Boston.
--Mei Mei restaurant website

Mei Mei might be most well known for their Double Awesome, a sandwich made with a scallion pancake and stuffed with two oozy eggs, Vermont cheddar, and local greens pesto. I've certainly enjoyed the Double Awesome and it's convinced me that more sandwiches should be made with light and flaky scallion pancakes. I first encountered Mei Mei when they were a food truck, and they also now have a brick-and-mortar restaurant in the Audubon Circle area of Boston. They've recently taken the new step and written a fascinating cookbook so that you can recreate some of their favorite recipes at home.

I strongly recommend you check out Double Awesome Chinese Food: Irresistible and Totally Achievable Recipes from Our Chinese-American Kitchen by Andrew, Irene and Margaret Li (Roost Books, February 2019, $35.00), a hardcover of about 240 pages. Andrew, Irene and Margaret are the sibling co-owners of Mei Mei, and Andrew named the company after his "little sisters." Their food truck opened in 2012 while their restaurant opened a year later.

One of the most compelling aspects of these siblings is the important values they embrace, seeking to source many of their ingredients locally, and opting for many sustainable choices. In addition, they seek to treat their employees very well, getting them invested in the future of their restaurants. Their website has much more information on these important aspects and I urge you to read more about their passionate efforts and philosophy.

Their new cookbook, broken down into an introductory section and eight chapters, has over 100 recipes, ranging from Apple Hoisin Sauce to Oolong Panna Cotta. The introductory section, Cooking At Home The Mei Mei Way, explains the six main concepts of sourcing and cooking that guide Mei Mei, such as 1. Buy Good Meat and 5. Eat Everything Edible. They follow up with advice for home cooks, including suggestions on kitchen equipment and pantry ingredients, especially Asian ones. All good advice for anyone who wants to create the recipes within the rest of the book.

The recipes are generally Asian inspired, with their own creative twists, so though you will find a recipe for Traditional-ish Pork Dumplings, you'll also find Beef & Blue Cheese Dumplings and Sweet Potato, Feta & Brown Butter Dumplings. There is a sense of whimsy to the recipes, but grounded in well-crafted dishes that taste delicious. Many of the recipes are relatively easy to create, and the more difficult ones have ample directions and photos, such as the section on Dumpling Making. You'll also find how to create the Double Awesome, which includes recipes to make Scallion Pancakes and the Local Greens Pesto.

The cookbook has a diverse variety of recipes, some that showcase vegetables while others showcase meat and seafood. There is something for all food preferences. There are plenty of photos scattered throughout the book, illustrating the various dishes as well as showcasing the Li siblings. A few of the recipes which especially intrigue me include Sesame Ssam Fang Brisket Lettuce Wraps, Coconut-Dashi Clam Chowder, and Jjajang Lamb Noodles. I'm sure you'll find different dishes that will intrigue you.

Some of the recipes are tools, which home cooks can use to create their own recipes or alternate versions of the recipes within the cookbook. For example, the first chapter, Our Favorite Pantry Recipes, consists of various sauces, dressings and oils which are versatile, and can be used in plenty of your own dishes. Other recipes such as their Rice Porridge and Traditional-Fish Pork Dumplings are templates where home cooks can easily put their own spin on such dishes.

Chapter 7, From The Ocean, is all about seafood and I found something in this chapter which both surprised and impressed me. As I written about before, seafood cookbooks far too often provide recipes that require a specific type of fish, and this is an obstacle to sustainability. Recipes shouldn't specify the fish type but be more generic, such as a "light, flaky whitefish" instead of "cod." The idea is to encourage home cooks to seek outside the most common seafood species, and put less pressure on those seafood populations. These are so many different types of fish that are delicious but most consumers don't consume them because their recipes don't include those different fish.

The Mei Mei cookbook doesn't fall into this trap, and provides a number of recipes calling for more general fish ingredients. For example, their Red-Cooked Fish recipe calls for "firm white fish fillets" and their Fish With Fennel, Cilantro & Sesame Oil recipe calls for "fillets of a relatively firm fish like salmon or barramundi." This is part of Mei Meis commitment to sustainability and I'm glad to see they've taken this route.

Overall, I highly recommend the Double Awesome Chinese Food cookbook. Lots of creative recipes, most easy to make, and a strong emphasis on sustainability and local ingredients. At Mei Mei, they take those matters seriously and it's not a surprise those values came through in their cookbook. If you've ever enjoyed a Double Awesome at Mei Mei, then this is a cookbook you should own. If you've never had a Double Awesome, buy this cookbook so you can make it at home. And you should also go to Mei Mei to experience one.

"For us, food is happiness, entertainment, adventure, education, enjoyment, and love. We look forward to sharing it with you."
----Mei Mei restaurant website

Monday, May 13, 2019

Rant: Wine Less Than $10? Buy Portuguese

Want to buy a good wine costing less than $10? You can certainly find a bottle from Barefoot Cellars or Yellow Tail, but I think there's a better option.

Buy Portuguese wine! 

On a recent trek to Fall River, I was once again reminded of the great value that can be found in wines from Portugal. I attended a Portuguese wine dinner, at Terra Nostra restaurant, held by LGL Imports and Enoport United Wines. LGL Imports is a family owned company that was established in 1977, and began importing Portuguese wines and spirits in 1979. Over the years, I've become friends with some of the people at LGL Imports, including Luis Oliveira, whose father started the company. I've tasted many of the wines they import, often impressed with the low price points of many of their wines. A number of those wines have ended up on my yearly Top Ten lists.

Every year, imports of Portuguese wines to the U.S. grow, which is also currently Portugal's second largest market. About 50% of those imports are Vinho Verde, generally white wines with a touch of effervescence that are perfect for the summer and are excellent food wines too. You can find plenty of tasty Vinho Verde wines for under $10. Portugal also offers numerous red wines, many produced from indigenous grapes, priced under $10, as well as other sub-$10 white wines. Plenty of diversity at this low price point.

As I've said before, there is probably no other wine region in the world where you can find as many good wines under $10 than Portugal. You may find some in other wine regions, but they are far less common, and you'll have to seek much harder to locate them. Chances are that if you purchase a Portuguese wine costing $10 or less, you'll find a tasty wine, much better than similarly priced wines from most other regions. Wines from Barefoot and Yellow Tail might be inexpensive and enjoyed by numerous people, but they aren't going to impress anyone.

However, Portuguese wines, even under $10, can impress. I previously held a private wine tasting event, with six wines from different countries. The overall favorite wine, which most impressed the guests and earned hearty raves, was a $6 Portuguese Vinho Verde! At that price, it would be easy to pick up a case to ensure you always have a bottle on hand. I've witnessed plenty of other people being amazed by the quality of a sub-$10 Portuguese wine. As have I.

Portugal has excellent wines at all price points, but they are certainly champions of wines under $10. As summer approaches, and you want to stock up on inexpensive wines for your parties, BBQs, and gatherings, then you should seek out Portuguese wines.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Water Doughnuts: Some Bagel History (Part 3)

And a look into the fascinating history of the bagel continues...

Technology would create one of the most significant changes in the bagel industry. The Hartford Courant, January 6, 1965, reported on The New York Bagel Bakery, which is owned by the Lender family and alleged to be the world's largest bagel bakery. On January 5, they started the automation of the bagel process with an assembly line that can turn out 120,000 bagels a day. This would revolutionize bagels, allowing the Lenders to create vast quantities of bagels and make them millions.

For a couple amusing bagel items, let's start with an article in The Bridgeport Post, March 13, 1965 (CT) which talks about Shakuntala, an elephant at the Beardsley Park zoo which likes to eat bagels. I never thought an elephant might enjoy a bagel. Does he want lox on it?

The Akron Beacon Journal, April 7, 1965, wrote about the success of Sean Connery as James Bond, discussing all types of 007 merchandise authorized to capitalize on this fame. However, Jay Emmett, the head of 007 promotions, turned down an offer for a 007 Bagel. There aren't any details so we don't know what they would have constituted. A martini-flavored bagel?

Another intriguing bagel article was in the Daily News, April 14, 1965 (NY), which initially noted that New Yorkers eat about 250,000 bagels a day. There was then a description and some information from the East Side Bagel Bakery, which makes the claim the original bagels were pumpernickel. This is the first time I'd seen such a claim so can't speak as to its validity or not. East Side makes a variety of bagels, about 500 dozen a day, including garlic, salt, poppyseed, sesame seed, onion, whole wheat, and pumpernickel. In addition, they make oversized bagels, which are called "bull bagels," for certain restaurants. They even make green bagels for St. Patrick's Day. It was also noted that the average bagel baker makes about $45 a day and can take 2 dozen bagels home each day.

The Weirton Daily Times, April 28, 1965 (WV), provided some information on the Lender's family and their bagel business. Their father, who started the business, worked for a year in New York City before establishing his own bagel bakery in Connecticut, where he delivered his bagels by a gand cart. More recently, before they began the bagel automation process, the Lenders were producing about 72,000 bagels a day, and now they have increased that number to 120,000 bagels with the start of their new assembly line.

Talk about food trucks! The Circleville Herald, June 9, 1965 reported that, "The Brooklyn Bagel Box, believed to be the only fully equipped, mobile, kosher delicatessen in the U.S. has transferred its operations to Fullerton, California, where it offers door-to-door service. Equipped with refrigeration, slicing machines, tables, and display counters, the Bagel Box is averaging more than 40 stops a day." Why don't we have something like this now? Door-to-door service sounds wonderful.

The Evening Journal, August 7, 1965 (DE), provided more information on the Lenders, stating they  produce a variety of flavored bagels, about 600,000 a week. Back in 1954, they first started placing frozen bagels in supermarkets and a year ago they found automated machinery to mix and shape the dough, which was instituted this year.

The Ohio Jewish Chronicle, September 17, 1965, published an article, mentioning how bagels were becoming more mainstream, and not just a Jewish delicacy. In 1964, Americans spent $15 Million for about 225 Million bagels. It is also noted that New York and its environs has 36 bagel bakeries, turning out about one million bagels weekly. There are 14 other bagel bakeries around the country, though their location is not mentioned. In addition, the article mentions some of the bagel types that are now available, including onion, egg, pumpernickel, whole wheat, raisin, and poppyseed.

By the middle of the 1960s, bagel variety was spreading. The Jewish Post, November 5, 1965, noted that you could now buy frozen or even canned bagels. Plus, bagels came in several different varieties rather than just the traditional white and pumpernickel bagels. The article also included a number of bagel recipes from the "... home economics department of the country’s largest bakers of bagels, the New York Bagel Bakery,..." This is the Lenders' bagel bakery. The recipes included Toasted Bagel Cheesies, Hamburgels (burger on a bagel), Sunshine Bagels, Cinnamon Circles, and Piquant Salmon Broil. Did you know that bagel burgers extended back this far.

Murray Lender, of Lender's Bagels, was trying to make bagel more mainstream, and one way was through new recipe ideas for bagels. In the Santa Cruz Sentinel, November 22, 1965 (CA), he provided a recipe for the Hambageler, basically a cheeseburger on a bagel. The recipe called for  a sliced bagel, 1 slice American or Mozzarella cheese, a hamburg patty, and 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce. A simple idea, meant to appeal to non-Jews who knew little about bagels.

The Daily News, November 25, 1965 also reported on news concerning Lender's Bagel. It quoted Murray Lender that "Automation has brought a whole new era to the bagel. They are now made in a startling variety of shapes, sizes and flavors." You can find Lender's bagels that are rye, pumpernickel, egg, onion, garlic, poppy seed and raisin. Of all those varieties, only the raisin appears to be a new variety, started by the Lenders. The rest all have been around for a time. The article also noted automation has allowed for such items as, "There are miniature heart-shaped bagels for Valentine's Day, green bagels for St. Patrick's Day, and square bagels guaranteed not to roll off the table." Murray also said, "The day is here...when we have triple-decker bagels, bagel heroes, bagel burgers, and pizza bagels."

What was the effect of automation on Lender's Bagels? The Chicago Tribune, September 28, 1966 provided some fascinating answers. In 1965, American doubled their consumption of bagels, indicating bagels were making inroads into new markets. As for Lender's Bagels, in 1964, before automation, they produced about 9 million bagels for about $500,000 in sales. In 1965, with automation, those numbers rose to 30 million bagels for over 1 Million in sales. And in the first quarter of 1966, they quadrupled sales from a year earlier. Impressive numbers, more than tripling their output, in their first year of automation. About 60% of their sales are frozen bagels.

To put that into perspective, New York City had 36 of the nation's 50 bagel bakeries. With only 14 bagel bakeries in the rest of the country, it is no wonder that so many people were still unaware of bagels. All together, the bagel bakeries produced about 250,000 bagels a day and 750,000 on weekends. Marvin Lender stated, "No longer do we try to identify the product with lox and cream cheese. Now we try to market it like English muffins or toast. We have people try it toasted with jelly or butter."  Marvin also provided some history of the invention of the green bagel. Seven years ago, in 1959, Lender was invited to a St. Patrick's Day party so he brought along some green bagels. They were such a hit that they now produce them each year.

This Week magazine, November 13, 1966 printed an address for Lender's Bagel Bakery, in Connecticut, so you could send away for free recipes including Bagel French toast, Pizza Bagel and Cinnamon Circles.

The Daily News, January 5, 1967 reported that in 1966, Americans consumed 307 million bagels, worth about $20 million. They also described the Grossinger Bagel, which is produced by Murray Lender. "The Grossinger Bagel is a 48-hour bagel. Other bagels get hard after 24 hours. Unlike other bakeries, we use eggs in the Grossinger formula. It makes them more palatable and softer." You don't hear about this bagel nowadays.

In further news from the Daily News, March 12, 1967, it was mentioned that there are now 60 bagel bakeries in the country. It also stated that there are two main types of bagels: Water bagels and egg bagels, as well as varieties including salted, unsalted, sprinkled with garlic or onion chip, white flour, whole wheat, rye, raisin, pumpernickel, and peppered with poppy seed, sesame, or caraway. In addition, the price of a bagel with a shmear of cream cheese and a touch of lox is close to a dollar.

The Daily Press, April 23, 1967 (VA) was very complimentary to Lender's Bagels, noting that they have done a great job. Some of their achievements include softening the bagel, producing 12 flavors, pre-slicing some and freezing some.

More bagel variety is addressed in the Jewish PostMarch 17, 1967, as it reported that, "In honor of St. Patrick’s day, Lender’s Bagel Bakery here baked bagels that were green. The package of frozen green bagel bore the slogan, ‘‘Erin go bragh, shalom” on the bag."

Though Miami had bagel bakeries for many years, the Jewish PostFebruary 9, 1968, reported that Atlanta, Georgia, finally opened a "bagel factory," the only one in the southeast, outside of Miami.

Ever hear of bagels being referred to as "Bulls?" In The Bronxville Review Press & Reporter, March 6, 1969, there was a supermarket advertisement that stated, "Large JUMBO, handmade Bagels are called “Bulls" by New York’s Bagel Makers." The term "bulls" appears to be uncommon nowadays so most people are probably unaware of it.

More Lenders information. The Hartford Courant, May 18, 1969, states that Lenders is the country's largest bagel bakery, making 30 million bagels annually. The number of bagel bakeries in the country had also risen to 150. In 1955, Lenders added shortening, eggs and sugar to their bagel recipe, to make them softer and with a longer shelf life. They also introduced the use of plastic bags, to hold six bagels, which made them easier to introduce to large grocery stores. Though they introduced the frozen bagel in 1963, they didn't promote it much at first because they couldn't make enough bagels. However, the introduction of automation changed that, andante now have 12 different varieties, including raisin. Murray' rule of thumb is that you needed about 100,000 Jews to support a bagel bakery. By introducing their bagels to non-Jews, Murray hoped to open up plenty of opportunities.

Continuing to promote bagels, in the Independent Press-Telegram, August 28, 1969 (CA), Lender's  provided a bagel recipe, which did not require eggs but did include boiling. Then, The Pittsburgh Press, November 23, 1969, provided some recipes with bagels, including the Sunshine Bagel (toasted bagel topped by egg), Cinnamon Circles (cinnamon and sugar atop a bagel), and Toasted Bagel Cheesies (cheese and tomato, oregano and parsley atop bagel). The article also mentions that bagels have only 50 calories. It still boggles my mind that bagels ever had this few calories!

The Daily News, January 1, 1970 (NY) had a grocery story ad, noting Freshly Baked Bagels, Hand Made, were 5 cents each, which would be 60 cents for a dozen. The Los Angeles Times, January 2, 1970, had an ad for Chalet Gourmet, offering deli specials, including bagels (water, egg, onion and pumpernickel) for 7 cents each.

Bagel burgers! The St. Louis Jewish Light, January 14, 1970, posted an ad for The Red Brick restaurant, noting their "Juicy Bagel Burger." Bagels in Missouri? Yes, bagels are becoming much more main stream.

The Desert Sun, January 19, 1970, provided a recipe for a Pizza Bagel, "Take a frozen bagel; split it, butter it and top with a slice of mozzarella cheese, 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce, oregano, and a dot of butter. Broil 5 to 8 minutes, serve and eat and ciao!"

More achievement for Lenders! The St. Petersburg Times, March 29, 1970, metaled that Lender's now produces more than 50 million bagels a year and recently made their one billionth bagel. The article also had a bagel recipe.

A return to the Bagel Burger. In Synapse - The UCSF Student Newspaper, October 30, 1970, there was a restaurant advertisement, "FERDINAND'S Home of the BAGEL BURGER!!. 1/4 pound freshly-ground chuck char-broiled to perfection. Served with melted cheese on a genuine New York water bagel, topped with a ripe cherry tomato and complimented with favorite garnishes. All this and your choice of salad or fries for only 85c!" It is interesting that this California restaurant was buying New York bagels for this sandwich.

More recipes for home cooks to make bagels also returned. In three issues of the Jewish Post December 11, 1970, December 25, 1970 and January 15, 1971, they provided various recipes to make bagels at home, apparently spurred on my requests from their readers for such recipes. the Daily IllinoisNovember 6, 1971 also offered their own version of a bagel recipe. In addition, the Desert SunJanuary 16, 1974, provided a recipe to make Beer Bagels, though the recipe didn't specify any particular type of beer. Do any of you remember family members making their own bagels at home during the 1970s?

The Journal-News, April 19, 1972, continued news about the Lenders. In 1971, they sold over 57 million bagels in 8 varieties, including plain, egg, garlic, onion, rye, raisin, pumpernickel, and poppy seed. Their sales exceeded $2 Million and they now sell their bagels in over 30 states. They have also been test marketing a pizza bagel. The article also included a bagel recipe.

Much of this information was supported by an article in the Hartford Courant, September 27, 1972. This article stated that in 1971, they produced over 58 million bagels with sales over $2.25 million. When you consider that only 400 million bagels were consumed in the year, 80% on the East Coast, Lenders has a significant market share. This is in contrast to back in 1955, when their sales were only $55,000. Lenders also conducted a customer survey, concluding that 52% of their customers didn't have Jewish sounding names, indicating that bagels were no longer just a Jewish food item.

The Indianapolis Star, April 15, 1973, stated that the Lenders turned out over 60 million bagels last year, in 8 varieties. The Chicago Tribune, June 14, 1973, printed that the Lenders had introduced frozen bagels in 1955 but that they didn't do well then, and they reintroduced frozen bagels in 1963, when consumers seemed more amenable to the idea. I'll note that frozen bagels actually existed in 1949, so the Lenders weren't the first to offer frozen bagels. Murray Lender was quoted in this article saying, "The beauty of the bagel is that it has warmth, body and personality without being a rich goody. It's appropriate as a dinner roll, for a coffee break, sandwich base, and late evening snack, as well as for breakfast."

Noting an increase in the cost of bagels, the Philadelphia Inquirer, November 11, 1973, published that the price of bagels had risen from 8 cents to 15 cents, while the cost of frozen bagels was about 7 cents.

In what might be a first, the Hartford Courant, January 4, 1982, provided a number of "restaurant" reviews for various hospitals! In a review of Mount Sinai Hospital, it was noted it "does have bagels and cream cheese--and even lox (smoked salmon), if you ask for it discretely." Just FYI, the Manchester Memorial Hospital received the highest rating, 3.5 Stars out of 4.

Finally, The New Mexican, July 20, 1986, wrote a lengthy article titled, First Bagels Roll Into Illinois for Prairie Breakfast. Lender's Bagel Bakery, now owned by Dart & Kraft, Inc., opened a new plant in Mattoon, Illinois, which will now be the largest of their four plants. The new plant will eventually turn out about 2 million bagels a day, making their daily total about 3.75 million. "It is automated, turning 2,000 pound-pieces of dough into balls that are flattened, boiled, baked, sliced, bagged, and frozen for shipment to supermarkets and other outlets." To celebrate the opening, Marvin Lender through a huge bagel breakfast.  "We're here to celebrate the world's largest bagel breakfast," said Marvin Lender, president of Lender's Bagel Bakery, whose newest plant on the edge of town is turning out 1 million bagels a day." Many of the people present had never tasted a bagel before and "People then began spreading cream cheese and jelly on the 30,000 bagels,...";

The article also mentioned that bagels have been quickly expanding beyond their traditional markets on the coasts. Retails sales doubled in the last four years, and Americans now eat about 8 million bagels a day. Lender also noted though that 82% of U.S. households still had not yet sampled a bagel.

What a wild ride through the history of water doughnuts!

"In fact, women both sold and baked bagels: the bagel oven was also known as the vayberisher oyvn, or wives’ oven. It was an accepted way of making a living for women,.."
--The Bagel: The Surprising History of a Modest Bread by Maria Balinska (2008)

Part 1
Part 2

(Please note that this is a significantly expanded/revised version of a prior article I wrote on bagel history. It has more than tripled in length.)

Thursday, May 9, 2019

The 12th Anniversary of the Passionate Foodie!

Pop the Bubbly as it's time to celebrate!

Today, The Passionate Foodie blog celebrates its Twelfth Anniversary, a significant milestone. During all those years, I've seen many other blogs come and go, but I've chosen to continue my writing. With over 4500 posts, I'm very proud of all I've written and have accomplished, and I look forward to continuing to write, continuing to spread my deep passion for food & drink. I love sharing what I learn with all my readers.

During the past 12 years of The Passionate Foodie, I've learned so much about food & drinks, exploring a wide variety of topics, essentially anything I can eat or drink. I never wanted to limit my writing to a specific cuisine, type of drink, or other specialty. I want the freedom to explore whatever perks my interest and I know I'll never run out of subject matter. Every time I learn something new, I realize how much more there is to learn. That is one of my favorite aspects and it helps that I'm a voracious reader and love to research new topics.

My blog has provided me a myriad of wonderful opportunities and experiences, creating a vast storehouse of fantastic memories. I've sampled so much excellent and exciting food and drink, in this country and others. I've gotten to travel to some amazing destinations, including France (Bordeaux and Champagne), Spain (Sherry region), Italy (Tuscany & Collio), Portugal (Douro region) Argentina and Chile. And later this year, I may get the chance to travel to Croatia.

I've judged a number of cooking competitions, including one that ended up on Japanese television. I was honored to be inducted as a Cavaleiro in the Confraria do Vinho do Porto, a Knight in the Brotherhood of Port Wine. I've also become a Certified Spanish Wine Educator, a Wine Location Specialist (Champagne & Port) and a Certified Sake Professional.

I've met so many interesting people, which has enhanced my experiences as I've long said that food and drink when shared is even better. Some of those people have become very close friends, like Adam JapkoAndrew Witter, and so many others too numerous to name, and I think those friendships will last for many years to come. It has been fascinating to meet numerous wine makers, distillers, brewers, wine & liquor store owners, importers, distributors, restaurant owners, chefs, and much more. From each, I've learned something new, which has helped my writing and understanding.

During these twelve years, what began as a hobby transformed into my profession. I'm now a freelance writer, having been published in a number of magazines and newspapers. I'm also a Sake educator and consultant, working for a variety of clients, from restaurants to distributors, conducting Sake classes, tastings, dinners and more. Plus, I work part time at a local wine store, gaining an insight into wine consumers. In addition, I write fiction, and have published three novels and a book of short stories. The fiction is mostly part of the Tipsy Sensei series, about a Sake expert in Boston who learns that the supernatural creatures of Japanese folklore are real. In the near future, I'll be publishing a crime novella. I was also a contributor to a comprehensive whiskey guide, The New Single Malt Whiskey.

It has been my pleasure to try to showcase and promote under-appreciated and/or lesser known wines, spirits and other drinks, such as SakeSherryFranciacorta, Greek Wines, Georgian Wines, Uruguayan Wines, Portuguese WinesMezcal, Baijiu and more. I've championed many of these underdogs, all which are worthy beverages deserving of much more attention by consumers as well as other writers. We all need to expand our palates and seek out the liquid wonders that can be found all around the world.

Out of my over 4500 posts, I have some top favorites, those posts which I am especially proud of for various reasons. At the top, I am proudest of my article, An Expanded History of Sake Brewing in the U.S., which involved lots of research, including searching through old newspaper archives. It presented an intriguing history which surprised numerous people and changed some of their previous beliefs. This article was even used a a major source and inspiration for someone else to recently write an article on this topic in The Japanese Journal For The History of Brewing.

I'm also pleased with a more recent article, An Expanded History of Pechuga Mezcal. With more original research, I was able to locate printed evidence of the existence of Pechuga Mezcal back to 1864, about 70 years older than any previously known evidence. In addition, I found over forty other printed references, from 1872-1945, concerning Pechuga, providing even more information about this intriguing type of Mezcal. This article has also been referenced in a new Mezcal book. I've written a similar historical article about Tequila, The Rise Of Tequila In The 18th & 19th Centuries, which also changes some of the alleged "common knowledge" about Tequila.

I'm proud of so many others as well, from my multi-part histories of PortSherryand Champagne. to The Science of Sake & Food Pairings. I've also been writing some historical articles about various food items, from American Chop Suey to Carrot Cake, which have provided intriguing insights into the origins of these foods. My latest posts concern the History of the Bagel. I also recently started The Mind of a Sommelier interview series which I've found to be fascinating, providing much insight into the vinous decisions of local sommeliers and wine directors.

I believe my writing has improved over all these years but some of my earliest articles still stand the test of time. I hope to continue writing articles that make me proud, articles that my readers find interesting and enlightening.

I owe many thanks to all of my readers, as it is their support and encouragement which has helped motivate me to continue writing year after year. I also owe thanks to my family and friends who have been so supportive for all these years. In addition, I am grateful to everyone in the food and drink community, from chefs to wine makers, who have helped contribute, in a myriad of ways, to my blog. Life is about connections, about the relationships we make, and they all contribute to what we do.

If I didn't thoroughly enjoy what I've been doing, then it would have ended years ago. I find it fulfilling and satisfying, and hope that my passion for food, drink and writing never dims. I look forward to celebrating my 13th anniversary next year, and I hope my readers keep reading me year after year.

It's time to celebrate!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Water Doughnuts: Some Bagel History (Part 2)

And a look into the fascinating history of the bagel continue...

Bagels were popular not just in New York but also in places such as in Miami during the 1940s. The Jewish Post, February 14, 1947, in an article on Jewish life in Miami, wrote, "Why not enjoy your “lox,” and you might even try it with "bagel.” Continuing in that vein, the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle, March 12, 1948, published an article, Miami Beach--The Tel Aviv of America, noting that this town has about 32,000 residents, 54% being Jewish. During the winter, the town will be visited by about 650,000 tourists, 85% being Jewish. It is noted that you can find a bagel with cream cheese for 30 cents, or 45 cents with the addition of lox.

The Tuscon Daily Citizen, June 11, 1948, showing bagels are also popular in Arizona, gave some prices for the bagels in a deli ad. A lox and bagel was 30 cents, and 45 cents if you also added cream cheese. Interesting that the prices were the same despite the distance between Florida and Arizona.

Do you like Pizza Bagels? I know I enjoyed them when I was growing up. The first reference I found to pizza bagels was about seventy years ago, in The Daily Journal, May 1, 1948 (NJ). The newspaper had a bakery ad which offered Pizza Bagels. The Miami News, February 5, 1952, also mentioned pizza Bagels, noting that it "Embodies the best qualities of pizza sans soggy dough." The Daily News, June 8, 1952 (NY) had an ad too for pizza bagels, but included a price. The cafeteria at the S. Klein store sold pizza bagels for 25 cents, and in their October 12, 1952 issue, noted a Monday special where the pizza bagels were only 10 cents.

The Ohio Jewish Chronicle, February 11, 1955, also had an advertisement for Max's 21 Restaurant & Delicatessen which mentions "Max's First Bagel Pizza" though no further description is provided. Later, the Ohio Jewish Chronicle, June 22, 1956, presented an advertisement for Johnny's Pizza which also offered a Bagel Pizza, though in 9 varieties. Again though, there are no further details, but this is the first mention of different varieties of pizza bagels that are available. The Greenville News, October 13, 1957 (SC) wrote that in New York, they have a pizza-bagel, "a bagel stuffed with pizza sauce."

The first reference to "egg bagels" seems to be The Cincinnati Enquirer, November 5, 1948, which had a pastry shop ad offering "Egg Bagel." The Tampa Tribune, January 15, 1949, had a similar bakery ad for Egg Bagel while The Bakersfield Californian, May 11, 1949, had a grocery store bakery add mentioning Egg Bagels. None of the ads though described what an egg bagel might be and how it differed from other bagels, except, of course, it contained eggs.

More bagel prices! The American Israelite, February 3, 1949 (Ohio) published an ad for Rothstein's Bakery, noting a dozen bagels costs 36 cents. The Rutland Daily Herald, February 17, 1949 (VT) printed a bakery ad, selling  a dozen Jewish Bagels for 35 cents, which can be compared with a dozen Plain Doughnuts for 25 cents. The Tuscon Daily Citizen, December 9, 1949, had an ad for a dozen Water Bagels for 35 cents. The Hattiesburg American, February 15, 1951 (Missouri) had an ad for freshly baked bagels at 40 cents a dozen. Fairly close prices for a dozen bagels.

There were some worries during this time period that bagel making might be a dying art. The Detroit Free Press, February 27, 1949, in an article titled Dying Bagel Art Survives in Detroit, talked about the Bagel King Bakery, a shop with 8 bakers that sold 9,600 bagels on a Saturday night. They stated that it took about 2/12 years of training to learn how to make bagels and that "A deft bagel twister can shape 84 in 5 minutes." Bagel making, by hand, is tough and skilled work. This isn't the only article I read that stated bagel making was a dying art.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 13, 1949, printed an amusing tidbit, "A pretzel is a bagel running around in the wrong circles.  A bagel is a pretzel that has gone straight."

In a technological step forward, The Journal News, June 6, 1949 (NY), reported on a new bagel slicer. A Cleveland restaurateur invented a machine, and is currently seeking a patent, to slice a bagel, "It includes a block of wood which holds a bagel firmly against a metal upright so it can't slip while being sliced into halves like an open clam." Nine years later, the Jewish Post (June 20, 1958) reported on a new bagel holder, created by a Miami plastics company. The article states, "The instrument has six sharp teeth on each side, to hold bagel firmly, and its use insures equal bagel halves for toasting,..."

The first frozen bagels? The Republican & Herald, July 4, 1949 (PA), in an article, Gossip In Gotham, mentioned that "Frozen bagels are due any day now, six to a package." The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 6, 1950, in an article on frozen foods, noted that you can now find frozen bagels in San Francisco.

In prior newspaper references, the term "bagel" is presented as is, but the Tuscon Daily Citizen, November 4, 1949 (AZ) was the first I found with a Deli ad mentioning "New York Water Bagels," though no explanation for that descriptor was provided.

A new Jewish cookbook was highlighted in the Jewish Post, January 20, 1950. Jewish Cookery, by Leah W. IV. Pearlroth Leonard (previously the food columnist for The Post), is a 500 page tome, broken down into 35 chapters. The article states, "Mrs. Leonard, in her chapter on bread, writes sadly of the fast-disappearing art of bagel-making in America. She includes a recipe for these water doughnuts, which she insists are typically Jewish as gefilte fish "exacted from a retired baker, who learned the art in Europe and practiced it in one of our large cities for more than 40 years.” She tested it successfully, in spite of the baker’s warning that it could not possibly be done at home. Get a copy of "Jewish Cookery,” and bake yourself a batch of bagel." I love the description of bagels as "water doughnuts."

More bagel pricing. The Albuquerque Journal, March 4, 1950, published an ad for Court Bakery, noting a dozen bagels cost 34 cents. And in the Dunkirk Evening Observer, May 4, 1950 (NY), there was an ad for a dozen bagel rolls for 50 cents. The Daily Times, November 2, 1950 (MD) printed a bakery ad offering bagel rolls for 40 cents a dozen. The Daily Times, April 19, 1951 (MD) printed an ad for fresh bagels for 50 cents a dozen.

Green bagels? The Kingsport News, March 23, 1950, reported that in Manhattan, "The kosher places celebrating St. Patrick's Day with window displays of green matso balls and bagels." This would seem to predate when Murray Lender began making green bagels in 1959. Lender might have made the practice more popular, but it doesn't seem he was the first to make them.

More bagel recipes were provided in the Dayton Daily News, April 19, 1951, which described some traditional Passover foods. Their recipe was for Pesach'dige Bagels, and they used matzo meal and there was no boiling of the bagel dough. The Press & Sun Bulletin, October 26, 1951 (NY) also printed a Bagel recipe, though it was more traditional and included the necessity of boiling. The Pittsburgh Press, March 26, 1953 had a recipe for "bagel (pretzel roll)."

An intriguing financial opportunity was included in The Record, March 20, 1951 (NJ). In an ad titled "Sell Bagels." it stated, "If you now sell to groceries, luncheonettes or house-to-house, this is your opportunity to increase your income 100%. Call Cliffside..." with a telephone number. Selling bagels as a way to generate additional income? A door-to-door bagel salesperson? It sure beats selling  encyclopedias.

The Miami Daily News, March 23, 1951, announced the opening of a new English-Yiddish variety show entitled "Bagels & Yox for 1951." The show will have comedians, singers, and a ventriloquist, with Velvel, the only Yiddish-speaking dummy.  The March 25, 1951 edition mentions that the show is about three and a half hours long. Plus, much of the show is comedy with a significant amount od off-color humor. Cellophene wrapped bagels were also passed out to the audience. The April 19, 1951 issue mentioned that because of Passover, the show wouldn't be passing out bagels, but would pass out matzohs instead. The Daily News, June 2, 1951, reported on the success of this show and indicated it was due on Broadway in September.

I hadn't previously heard of a difference between Western and Eastern bagels. The Jewish PostMarch 23, 1951, though reported on them, "The difference between Western bagels and Eastern bagels caused a minor crisis on the set of Warner Bros. 'Tomorrow is Another Day.' Director Felix Feist discovered that the bagel-peddlers cart in a New York street was loaded with Western-type bagels--i.e. small and donut shaped. He insisted on the Eastern type--i.e. larger and pretzel shaped. The property master finally hustled up some of the Eastern bagels from a delicatessen on Los Angeles' Brooklyn Avenue."

Another bagel strike hits New York. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 17, 1951, reported that the Bagel Bakers of America, Local 338, A.F.L. closed 32 of the 34 bagel bakeries in the city, involving the 10 in Brooklyn. The workers claimed management had failed to live up to their contractual obligations. This led to a decrease in sales of lox as well, as "the true bagel devotee insisting the smoked salmon just doesn't go with anything else but a tooth-destroying bagel." The Miami News, January 26, 1952, reported that the strike was set to end on January 28. The union got a $3 per day raise for the employees, to a daily rate of $30.

The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle, May 11, 1951, reported that nationally syndicated columnist George Sokolsky was upset that the new Dictionary of Americanisms failed to include the words "bagel" and "lox." The dictionary is a "two-volume publication on words added to the English language in this country." George noted the prevalence of these two words on Broadway. Other newspaper articles would later mention how readers could find either word in a dictionary so wrote to their local newspapers for mire information.

The Courier-Journal, February 21, 1952 (KY), published a long bagel article, noting that "Except in cities where there is a large Jewish population, the general population is in woeful ignorance of some mighty fine eating." It describes the nature of bagels, and also talks about certain related matters, such as "Among Orthodox Jews, it used to be a custom to serve people in mourning a dish of bagels, since the bagel, a circlet without beginning or end, represents the continuity of life." Bagels also figured into curses, as "So much have bagels entered into the thinking that little street urchins don't tell you to go to the devil--they'll tell you where to go, and then add the instructive phrase--'and bake a bagel."

Some controversy was brought to the bagel stage in an article in the The Boston Globe, March 9, 1952. The play, "Bagel & Yox," was playing at the Schubert Theater, led by New Yorker Lou Saxon, as the master of ceremonies. Lou stated, "Boston bagels are bigger and better than New York bagels. They taste better--I guess New Englanders use more butter." Though this comment probably pleased Bostonians, I'm not sure Lou's fellow New Yorkers were too happy.

The Burlington Free Press, March 28, 1952 (VT), described some of the food stores in the city of Burlington, with a section on Passover foods. The article mentions, "A newcomer to the bread line is available in one delicatessen that sells 75 dozen over Saturday and Sunday. It is bagel, the loaf shaped like a doughnut. The dough is boiled before it is baked, resulting in a hard crust and soft center." Seems bagels were relatively new in northern Vermont.

A bagel battle comes to New York. The Star-Gazette, April 5, 1952 (NY) reported that the Lovitch Bakery had been making "bagel" on only Sundays for almost forty years. It is specifically noted that "bagel" is a "singular, collective noun" and that it is "something made of flour, egg, and water, boiled in hot water for ten minutes and then oven-baked for 20 minutes." Their bagels sells for 40 cents a dozen. A super-grocer came to the area, selling bagels made in Washington, D.C., which is "shipped in daily, brown-and-serve affairs" that cost 65 cents a dozen. Baker Joe Lovitch calls them "synthetic."

One of the first mentions of a different variety of bagel is in the Orlando Evening Star, August 13, 1953, which mentions a "poppyseed bagel." The article also gives an amusing definition of lox, "Lox? That's a smoked salmon with sex."

Concerning bagel strikes, the Breckenridge American, December 27, 1953,  reported on a strike by 45 truck drivers, who delivered bagels to restaurants and neighborhood stores, which lasted for about 32 days. A settlement was eventually reached so the bagel famine ended. This story was also reported in a California newspaper and they needed to write a follow-up article to explain the nature of the bagel.

In a sports column of the Madera Daily News Tribune (December 31, 1953), they published an article titled, "Bagel is Explained." One of their readers wanted an explanation of the bagel and the article stated, "A bagel has been jocularly, but nevertheless somewhat accurately, described as a hardboiled doughnut. But unlike the doughnut it is (1) not sweet (2) not fried, but baked (3) not soft. About all it shares with the doughnut is its shape." The article continues, "It is a breakfast favorite of many a New Yorker, particularly those who have been exposed to the eating habits of the Yiddish population of the city; for a breakfast of lox (smoked salmon), cream cheese, and half-and-half (weak coffee halved with cream) is very often favored by Jewish folk." And it also states, "Dipped in coffee, its lobster-like outer shell becomes amenable to the dental onslaught of its devourer. Smeared with sweet-butter, after having been sliced across, it becomes a rare delicacy; garnished with fresh cream cheese, it is a delight; and if the salt, sweet flavor of smoked salmon is added (as the famous Lindy's restaurant serves it) the bagel becomes the center around which a whole breakfast may be built."

Why would a bagel article be presented in a sports column? The article address that question, "Many an earnest eastern lad grappling with the lower rungs of the ladder to fistic prominence has subsisted almost entirely on the bagel. Like Benjamin Franklin’s two-penny rolls, the bagel is a classic, inexpensive way to fill the void beneath the manly chest." The answer continues, "But the bagel for a long time was the stuff of which fighters were made ... at least in the early mornings of the early days of their careers." Boxing and bagels! This also harkens back to the prior article I mentioned, in the Hartford Courant, March 7, 1926, where a basketball time only had $1 for food and bought bagels.

Another initial mention of a different variety of bagel is in the Miami News, February 5, 1954, which states that Pumpernik's restaurant had invented pumpernickel bagels. This restaurant was established in 1953, and also added Pumpernik's Pantry, a bake shop. For more explanation, the Muncie Evening Press, March 11, 1954, published an article titled Once Lowly Bagel Suddenly Becomes a Glorified Food. The article noted that bagels were now selling better since the invention of the pumpernickel bagel by Pumpernik's. Arthur Godfrey, a famous entertainer and talent scout,  praised this bagel on the radio, spreading the word coast to coast, and everyone suddenly wanted pumpernickel bagels.

It might seem strange to some that pumpernickels bagels were invented in Florida and not New York. Other bakeries and shops seemed to quickly jump on the pumpernickel wagon. The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 25, 1954, spoke of something new in bagels, the pumpernickel bagel, and The Daily Record, August 13, 1954 (NJ) also promoted pumpernickel bagels. Obviously, the idea of pumpernickel bagels couldn't be restricted to Pumpernik's, so others decided to add it to their own selections. In New York, they took it to the new step. The Daily News, February 6, 1955 (NY) mentioned that onion pumpernickel bagels have become popular.

The Courier-News, February 16, 1956 (NJ), has a bakery ad mentioning Pumpernickel bagels, as well as both "water & egg bagel." It was interesting to learn in The Coshocton Democrat, April 11, 1956 (Ohio), that actor and comedian Jerry Lewis had developed a passion for pumpernickel bagels. Pumpernickel bagels certainly seemed to be extremely popular as the Democrat & Chronicle: May 20, 1956 wrote that "Jack Bell, columnist for the Miami Herald, reported that Charlie Bookbinder of Pumpernick's (it's a restaurant) boasted that he was on the verge of selling his one-millionth bagel." As the restaurant was only three years old, that is quite an achievement in such a short time.

Did you ever hear about canned bagels? In The Brooklyn Daily EagleDecember 29, 1954, there was an article highlighting Israel Hershman, the owner of the Coney Island Bagel Bakery, who is supposed to be a master at creating bagels. As the article states, "Bagels, allow me to instruct you, are created, not manufactured. Each one is fashioned by the touch of a skilled hand."  Hershman creates some bagels which will be canned, something new in bagel packaging. The bagels need to be created at the proper size so they fit within the can. Hershman has shipped these canned bagels to places including Rome and Israel. Who would have thought?

Hershman appears to not have been the only one to consider canned bagels. The Detroit Free Press, June 3, 1955, wrote that, "Bagels in a can. That's the offering of Bread Basket, Inc. claimed to be the first commercial bread product successfully canned without the use of preservatives. Prices at 24 cents for a can of our bagels..."  All you have to do is "Open the can, heat or toast and serve." The Tribune, August 26, 1955 (PA) gives more detail, that the Bread Basket, Inc., located in New York, is "offering vacuum packed canned bagels, four ready to serve."

The variety of bagels continued to expand, as mentioned in the Ohio Jewish Chronicle, November 11, 1955, with an advertisement for the Berkman-Yellen Bagelry. The ad mentions the variety of different bagels they sell, including rye, poppy seed, pumpernickel, cheese, onion, onion & poppy seed, and plain. This seems to predate most of the varieties of bagels that Lender's Bagels would later promote, except possibly the raisin bagel.

More worries about bagel being a dying art. The Sedalia Democrat, August 23, 1956 (Missouri) printed a fascinating article about bagels, aka water doughnuts," which stated "A number of Jewish bakers declare the art of bagel making has become almost lost in the United States. In fact, older men in the industry fear that bagels will disappear because the younger bakers show no enthusiasm for learning the method." The article also touched a bit on the bagel's history, noting that "In Eastern European countries the making of bagel was generally turned over to the skilled fingers of women who formed the circlets of raised dough and passed them onto the master-baker very rapidly. These water doughnuts must be handled with care and processed with precision." Finally, the article had a bagel recipe, noting variations which included sprinkling them with poppy seeds or coarse salt.

The Jewish PostFebruary 1, 1957, returned to the idea of making bagels at home, providing a complete recipe for the home cook. The ingredients list included: 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus 3 tblsps. for kneading board; 1 1/2 tsps. salt; 2 tblsps. sugar; 1 pkg. yeast; 2/3 cup warm water; 3 tblsps. oil or shortening; 1 egg; and 4 quarts boiling water, to which add 2 tblsps. sugar. The instructions include boiling and baking the bagel. The Daily News, November 2, 1957, also published another bagel recipe. Making bagels at home now seems to be a lost art.

Free bagels! The Escanaba Daily Press, March 20, 1957 (MI), wrote that in New York City, "A Teamsters local has an agreement with the New York City bagel manufacturers that permits all employees to take home two dozen free bagels at the end of each working day." A nice little benefit and interesting that it ended up as part of their contract.

Finally, an explanation for water bagels! The Daily News, January 12, 1958, wrote about Sam and Ann Goldsmith, who make bagels in a basement bakery in the Bronx. Their unsalted bagels outsell salted ones by 3 to 1. They also make the water bagel, "which is soaked in a boiling solution before baking to give it a glossy finish and considerable strength." This is what we know as the traditional New York style bagel, where boiling is involved. Thus, it seems logical that the egg bagels, which are the contrast to water bagels, do not involve boiling.

Mini-bagels? The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 27, 1958 published an add for a package of miniature Baglettes, which cost 39 cents, though the size of the package wasn't given.

The extent of the number of bagel bakeries in New York were explained in the Bay Ridge Home Reporter, February 7, 1958 (NY). "In 31 bagel bakeries, 204 bakers and 49 baker's helpers, members of Local 338 of the Bakery and Confectionary Employees' Union, produce all the water bagels sold in the city. Whole wheat and egg bagels for retail consumption only are made by individual bread bakers in local bakeries." It seems that the skills to produce water bagels are more valued as they are controlled by the union, allowing others to make whole wheat and egg bagels.

There are additional references to various bagel types such as the Jewish PostFebruary 14, 1958, which had an advertisement for a New York deli which sold a "New York Water and Pumpernickel Bagel." Ms. Baliska also mentioned in her book that during the mid-1950s, you could find Cinnamon Raisin and Onion bagels.

Bagel recipes continued to be published in various newspapers. The Boston Globe, April 2, 1958, printed a recipe for "Passover Bagel" but it didn't involved any boiling. In their June 12, 1958 issue though, they had another bagel recipe, and this one included the need for boiling. The June 29, 1958 issue then printed a slight correction to that recipe. The Salt Lake Tribune, November 28, 1958, as well as their June 26, 1959 issue, printed bagel recipes that included boiling. The Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph, April 22, 1959 printed a Passover recipe for the bagel, but it didn't include boiling.

Hawaiian bagels? In a fascinating story, the Honolulu Star Bulletin, April 1, 1959, related the tale of Yun Yau Kam, maybe only Chinese bagel baker in the world. Based in Moiliili, Honolulu, he has been baking bagels for about four years. Initially, a friend of his wrote to the Jewish Bakers' Association in NY, asking for their bagel recipe so that they could provide to the local Jewish community. He received the authentic formula, which Kam quickly memorized and then "lost," refusing to reveal his ingredients and practices to others. He now make about 50 dozen bagels once a week for the Hawaiian Jewish community.

Prior to the 1960s, Ms. Balinska wrote that "...the cellar bakeries had sold their bagels wholesale to delicatessens, supermarkets and other bakeries." So, when a customer purchased a bagel, it wasn't fresh and hot out of the oven. Thus, toasting the bagel was common. However, as the 1960s began, technology began to change the nature of bagel bakeries, bringing them out of the cellars and onto street level. As she wrote, "For the bakery ‘bosses’ of the Bagel Bakers’ Association, the arrival of operations at street level was a business revelation. Consumers paid more than the retailer and could not get enough of the freshly baked hot bagel, something which had not been available in the days of wholesale. Blinking neon ‘HOT BAGELS’ signs were soon gracing the store windows of bakeries across the city." Nowadays, people may take for granted being able to buy a fresh, hot bagel but that wasn't always the case.

Previously, I mentioned the first reference I found to pizza bagels in 1948 in New Jersey. However, the Miami News, February 25, 1960, reported that the pizza bagel had been "invented by Arthur Adler of the Leamington, Ponce de Leon and Allison Hotels, and later swiped by Wolfie Cohen when he ran Pumpernik's." The article doesn't provide a date when Adler allegedly invented the pizza bagel. A couple other newspaper articles claim he invented the pizza bagel, but again, no details were provided. I suspect he might have been the first to make pizza bagels in the Florida area, but I don't believe he invented them. If so, there likely would have been additional references to his creations much earlier than 1960.

As the 1960s began, plenty of bagel varieties were being sold by various bakeries. The Cincinatti Enquirer, March 16, 1960, had an ad for plain and poppy seed bagels. The Valley News. January 20, 1961 (Van Nuys, CA) talked about the Western Bagel Baking Co. which makes a variety of bagels, such as onion, salted, poppyseed, egg, and water bagels. The Miami News, March 21, 1961 reported on the Hot Bagels Shops, which sell 6 varieties, including plain, salt, pumpernickel, onion, egg, and garlic. The Ithaca Journal, April 25, 1961, noted that Abel Bagels sells onion, egg, and water bagels.

Though The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 6, 1961, provided a bagel recipe, which included boiling, it noted that "There was a time, says the Jewish Festival Cookbook, when every Jewish housewife cherished her recipe for bagels." That seems to indicate that less and less people were making bagels at home.

Another bagel strike struck in February 1962. The Jewish PostFebruary 16, 1962, reported that 289 bagel bakers in New Jersey and New York went on strike, affecting 85% of New York City's bagel supply. The union wanted three week’s vacation with pay instead of two, fourteen holidays a year instead of eleven and wage increases.

The Miami News, November 11, 1962, wrote about Beach Bagel Bakeries, in South Beach, which makes 900 dozen bagels a night, including egg and water bagels. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 12, 1963, noted a Brooklyn restaurant created a twisted bagel, resembling a pretzel. It simply seemed to be a different shape.

Technology was starting to impact the bagel industry. For example, The News, March 20, 1963 (NJ) described how Harold Paitchell received a patent for a bagel bending machine, which "bangs dough into bagel bloops ready for cooking." The Rockland County Journal-News, March 27, 1963 (NY) had an ad which is one of the first references to frozen bagels. The ad was for Abel's Frozen Bagels, noting that they are available in all varieties, in a 6 pack for 29 cents. This is about the same time that Lender's Bagels began selling their own frozen bagels in 6 packs. The Daily News, October 9, 1963,  also had an advertisement for frozen bagels, the Bagel King Bagels, which were available in plain, onion, and pumpernickel, in a package of 6, also for 29 cents.

How many bagels were being consumed during this time period? Well, the South Bend Tribune, December 15, 1963 (Indiana) provided a figure, stating that in New York, about 2 million bagels were sold each week. That would be over 100 million bagels in a year, and doesn't include bagels consumed outside of New York.

The F&M College Reporter (April 3, 1964--Illinois) perpetuated some of the common myths about the origins of bagels, stating they were invented in Vienna around 1683, a claim Ms. Balinska thoroughly refutes. The article goes into length concerning out bagel issues. For example, it states, "To the purist, there is only one true bagel. It is handmade from white wheat gluten flour, salt water, malt, and and yeast, and simmered in hot water for two minutes before it is baked. A few flakes of onion or garlic are grudgingly permitted as a sign of the times, but other varieties of the Bagel are considered rolls with holes in them and not Bagels." The article continues on the number of bagel bakeries in NYC, "In New York City, 36 bakeries turn out nothing but Bagels at the rate of a quarter million per day and three times that many on the weekends when 60% of all Bagel are sold."

"Green" bagels? No, I'm not talking about St. Patrick's Day bagels. The Daily News, April 23, 1964 (NY) reported that a bagel baker, age 28, was arrested for selling marijuana. He claimed that he bought the weed from another bagel maker, and then sold it to adolescents and older people.

The Akron Beacon Journal, May 2, 1964, stated that National Bagel Day was May 5, celebrated by the University of Akron's Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. However, this actually appears to be more of a floating holiday, celebrated only by the fraternity. The May 20, 1967 issue stated National Bagel Day was celebrated on May 19 by the fraternity and the June 7, 1969 issue said National Bagel Day was celebrated on June 6. The Chicago Tribune, October 26, 1969, had an ad for Begun's of Elmhurst, which appears to be mainly a clothes store, and they declared National Bagel Day to be October 26, though they repeated the day four times, on a weekly basis.

More information on the bagel's origins are found in the Jewish PostJuly 3, 1964, especially concerning the term itself. "There is no Word in the German language Corresponding to the Yiddish word “baigle.” The root "baign” is derived from the German (to bend or to bow) in Yiddish "bogen.” But the formation "baigle” is purely Yiddish — which shows, of course, that Yiddish is a language by its own right and not a mere corrupted German. "Baigle” or "beigel” is the root “baign” or "beign” with the diminutive ending "1.” In German, if there were such a word, it would be "boegelein.” But there isn’t."

A differing view comes from the Jewish Post (July 24, 1964), where is it mentioned that, "The bagel originally came from the province of Silesia where it was known as a "bcugel.” The Jews in their migrations picked it up, adopted it and carried it with them as they moved eastward."

Though most bagel bakeries were located in New York, there were a small number of others across the country. The Chicago Tribune, December 20, 1964, wrote about the Litberg's Bryn Mawr Bagel Bakery, one of only two bagel bakeries in Chicago. Owned by Abe and Sam Litburg, their father, who was originally from Kiev, had opened the original bakery back in 1925. They now produce about 11,000 bagels each week. For some perspective, remember that New York produces a total of about 2 million bagels each week. The article discussed bagel purists, who only accept water bagels, and those outsell others by 20 to 1. Purists also see "pumpernickel, rye and whole wheat and poppy seed rolls as 'just rolls with holes.'

Finally, the article notes that the immersion of the dough into boiling water cooks away the starch, which helps to reduce the calories of a bagel. Thus, bagels are said to have only 50 calories while a slice of white bread has 72 calories. That is fascinating as modern bagels are now said to have an average of 250-300 calories. Even modern mini-bagels are said to have about 100 calories. So, what is the difference, reflective of the calorie disparity, between the bagels from the 1960s and those of the present era?

To Be Continued....

Part 1
Part 3

(Please note that this is a significantly expanded/revised version of a prior article I wrote on bagel history. It has more than tripled in length.)