I admit – I am a total bagel snob. I grew up in the NYC suburbs (aka New Jersey) and bagels were a local delicacy. Oh how I miss curling up on a Sunday morning with the New York Times (I'm a Magazine, Book Review, Style kind of girl) and a plain bagel with a smear (that's a light swipe of cream cheese for you non-New York area natives).
When I moved out of the NYC area, I gave up bagels first. Because, lets face it, an Upstate New York bagel just doesn't cut it, and a California bagel? Why bother.
But man – I miss bagels. And so, yes, now and then, here in Sweden I try a bagel or two. I've even made my own. And they weren't half bad (mostly because it was my own blood, sweat and tears).
The Swedish idea of a bagel is generally a roll with a hole poked in the middle. Not bad if you like rolls, terrible if you like rolls, but crave a bagel.
Then I discovered the Espresso House bagels. Not half bad. They have a good solid consistency, they just lack the nice solid crustyness of a great NYC bagel. So occasionally I grab one with cream cheese for lunch. Yes, I lament that the smear is more than a smear but not quite a full serving of Cream Cheese. And that they insist on making them all whole-wheat and add a salad. But I can deal, because this ain't New York.
But then today happened – and I had a great laugh – because it was a fabulous addition to my ongoing bagel dramas.
I order a bagel at Espresso House.
“I have to warm it up for you, it will just take a minute”
(Previously at EH they have asked me if I wanted my bagel warmed and I always have declined. I cannot for the life of me imagine why you would want to warm a bagel already filled with CC and trimmings. I toast my bagels when they are getting a bit stale – but otherwise, nah- an always sans fillings)
“No thanks, I'll take it as is”
“But you cannot, it must be warmed, this bagel is only half done”
“I had the exact same thing last week and they said it was fine”
“Well, it should be warmed up.”
“OK, I guess I will try this bagel 'Swedish style'” (and I meant this, too – I do understand that things in Sweden are different, and not American – and despite my bitching on this blog – I do appreciate that the world is not the same all over)
“Oh no, this is how they do it in New York City”
“Yes, this is how they serve bagels in NYC.”
“I see, have you ever been to NYC?”
“I have relatives in NYC”
“Good for you, but you see, I grew up there. And I have never had what you are describing to me.”
“Well, this is how they do it.”
I feel the bagel and it is cold. I comment on that. “I see, so are you willing to give in and let me heat it for you now?”
“Um, no – thanks.”
Then I came home and told the story to the 4 guests from Manhattan staying in my house. We all had a good laugh. No one had ever had a reheated warmed up cream cheese filled bagel.
The hunt for a good bagel is at least an amusing past time.