The Bagel Story

bigulOk, this isn’t about the Bigul (adjacent picture) that is played during army parades, I’m talking about Bagels – the donut shaped bakery products hugely popular in Europe and America.

Until today morning, I hadn’t eaten a bagel (I was a Bagel-virgin). I am generally fascinated by bakery products – cookies, muffins, cakes etc. There was this Bagel shop I passed by every morning and naturally I got attracted to it.

Previous week:
Toronto is usually laid back except for the morning rush hour which is very Mumbai style. So the maximum time I take to zoom past the shop was 3.2 seconds, grossly insufficient to see what was inside. Determined to investigate, last week I paused in front of it just to get a better look

“Hey there, good morning”, yelled the lady behind the counter in a machine-like tone.
“I’m just looking”, I said defensively. (Somehow I feed odd to browse or window shop)

She nodded and I started checking out. The smell was good (I’m talking about the shop, not the lady). There were round bread-like donut type objects of different shapes and colors. I looked at the price – “Single Bagel – $ 0.85.” Was it that cheap? Awesome!
Veggie Bagel
Today morning:
Incidentally I woke up late today and couldn’t afford to eat breakfast. So I went to the shop and asked for a bagel.

“Bagel? Sure, what kind?” the lady said (another one today, this one had a thick Turkish accent)
“Ugh… any kind” I looked around clueless.
She simply stared at me.
“Raisin Cinnamon” I quipped (I am attracted to both).
Then she asked me something that I didn’t understand. I asked her to repeat twice. Finally she went to a toasting machine and pointed at it:
“Bagel Toast or no Toast”
“Aha! Yes Toast please” I was satisfied. She let out a grunt (probably thinking – ‘these, foreigners… can’t they learn anything before coming here?!’)

BagelsThen there was this Chinese girl in the subsequent counter. She was saying something which I didn’t understand so I presumed it was for someone else and I conveniently ignored her. After about a minute of shouting and yelling with gestures, I figured out she was indeed talking to me.
“What toppings?” (totally different accent)
I gave her the most puzzled look I ever sported. I thought a bagel was something like a cake or a muffin.
Re-framed.
“umm.. anything…”, I looked around to find an array of meat boxes and some green stuff in a corner, “Anything veggie please” (I had no intent of eating raw meat)
“Ok Lettuce? Tomato? Cucumber? What else?”
“Olives, Pickles, cheese – no not the slices, give me this shredded one” I said. This was getting confusing. What exactly was a bagel? a sandwich?
“And honey-mustard sauce, salt and pepper” I spoke like an expert.
“Here you go” she handed me a neatly wrapped pack

I proceeded to pay, but it was at the other end of the shop attended by a huge African girl.
The receipt read $4.10
“WHAT!!??” That was the scream inside my head. Thankfully I stopped converting everything to Rupees, else I’d have fainted. Externally, I just smiled at her while swearing never to come here again.
“No card, only cash” she said pointing to some obscure note on the counter. (She reminded me of Hidimba)
I paid, grabbed the change and escaped back into the crowd. Phew!

The first thing I did at work was to read what a Bagel was.
Wikipedia says: “A bagel is a bread product traditionally made of yeasted wheat dough in the form of a roughly hand-sized ring which is boiled in water and then baked. The result is a dense, chewy, doughy interior with a browned and sometimes crisp exterior. Bagels are distinct from the similarly shaped doughnuts and from the similarly textured bialys, primarily because of the cooking method amongst other differences.”

You may want to read the the (w)hole story, or bake one yourselves.

PS: This story is so unlike me. I generally don’t do anything unplanned, unresearched.

19 thoughts on “The Bagel Story

  1. I had bagel and jam once, thinking it would be like bread and jam, only more tasty. After having it, I gave up and have never had a bagel since then ;).

  2. You let the cat outta the bagel, that, at the yeast, you need to wed (‘wade’, geddit?) footlong into a doughager to make more bread. Just make sore she is not a sa(n)d wich.
    I know my alleged humor is straight as a pretzel, but at least I am not butter about life, in spite of being in such a jam and all!

  3. Arbit:
    This veggie bagel sandwich did taste good, except for the price ;)
    PS: Why don’t you give your blog url while posting comments!

    Backpakker:
    Welcome to my blog. Bagel is European originally, if I understood the story well.

    Rambodoc:
    Gosh you are too much! How do people (especially your wife) handle you :D I was laughing so hard, I can’t even think of a reply :D

  4. Bagel….hmm, i think i had it once when i was in London. It kind of gave me a break from my McD burger routine :) I think the version that you ate will taste something like a Subway sandwich with all those toppings:)

  5. It’s lovely to read how ‘what happened in my life today’ incident is written and made so interesting to read on a blog. :)

    I prefer to toast the bagel AFTER the cheese is added so the cheese melts oh-so-the-right-way and the bagel tastes so good! But then, of course, taste buds of one differ from that of another.

    This posting reminded me of my experimentation with the Hash Brown in New York. Incidentally, it was in the same city that I had my first bagel.

  6. I don’t know how you managed to write a story about buying a bagel. I don’t know why I kept reading. It sounded like something interesting was about to happen, but ultimately you just bought a bagel. It’s weird how simple things to me can make a whole story for you. I wonder if I went to Mumbai if I would write stories about buying little things from there. Probably not. Tomorrow you should buy a Quizno’s sub.

  7. matt’s comment is why you should keep writing..thats what I meant too, but he has put it so succintly:”It’s weird how simple things to me can make a whole story for you.” :-) thanx

  8. You have made a very interesting story on a not so intersting Bagel. You get bagels at coffee shops like ‘Barista’ here in Delhi. They don’t taste bad and you don’t have to choose toppings.They serve what they have.

  9. Ah Bagel … a total waste of flour. Gotta be born eating that stuff to like it. No taste, thick as hell, like a fat piece of bread – oh and did I mention, no taste?

    I’ll take batata-wada instead. Thank you!

    • Thanks for stopping by Sattu!
      However I don’t understand your comparison between batata-wada and bagel. Its like comparing cabbage and cake – no relation to each other. :)

  10. Pingback: Half-Marathon » Final Transit

  11. I ate some garlic Bagels, and they tasted really good, almost like the Rusks we get in India. Infact I and my friends finished off a whole pack of it while we were chatting. Its surprising that not many people like them. Anyways, it was a nice read!

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