I think I need to bitch about bagels. At Waitrose, my favorite UK supermarket, we can buy a bag of things the size of a dinner plate interestingly called New York Bagels. They come in bags of six.
If you drop a bag of six New York bagels on your foot, you'd better be wearing shoes or you might break a toe. New York bagels are small, dense and have a hard chewy-glossy shell. In fact, since the beginning of recorded time, mothers in New York City have provided their children who are losing teeth with a bagel for breakfast at the appropriate moment. Guaranteed, that loose tooth ends up in the bagel, no muss, no fuss.
If you drop the UK faux-New York Bagels on your toe, you won't feel a thing. Nor can you get your kids to painlessly yank out their own loose baby teeth with one.
Aside from those obvious failings, there's also the issue of getting UK bagels toasted. First, you have to get them into the toaster which, if it is a UK toaster, will not handle half a bagel per slot unless you squush them a bit. Then they won't pop up, and you'll need tongs to save your fingers. Really, they should be too dense to squush, but I repeat myself.
In the UK, please make sure you turn off the outlet into which your toaster is plugged before sticking tongs in there, or you might never get to taste those bagels. Unlike like US electricity which could give you a tingle if you had wet hands or something, UK socket juice can fry you. Don't believe me? Electricity in Ireland is the same. Watch the episode of Ballykissangel in which the Assumpta Fitzgerald character dies checking a fuse, and you'll get the picture.
Anyway, you've finally got the bagel halves out, and now you need to add butter and a schmear.
Butter, on a bagel, should not soak in much, but rather melt down over the sides of the glossy crust. Here, it soaks in, unfortunately, because it interferes with the schmear.. Here, when you've got your spatula nicely loaded with cream cheese--the schmear--it won't leave the spatula in anything like a smooth ribbon around the circumference of the half bagel. You end up, several minutes later as the bagel is cooling down--with lumps of cream cheese here and there around the circumference of the so-called bagel, which is now almost as cold as before you manhandled it into the toaster.*
So you sigh, pick up your cup of coffee and so-called bagel, and go out to the greenhouse to enjoy the view of Dartmoor, the intermittent sunshine, the tiny wrens at the bird feeder and the song of birds in the hedge.
It's all good.
But I really did have to bitch about ersatz bagels. I'm a native New Yorker, after all.
|A bagel with some topping or other, but being eaten properly, each side equally addressed, and addressed separately.|
|A travesty. If this were a real bagel, you couldn't eat it without risking your teeth. But it isn't a real bagel; far too many air holes and that crust doesn't look chewy to me.|
* I've written about our toaster wars before; I think we are now on UK toaster number 7, the previous six having proved inadequate. The current one is the cheapest of the lot, but never fear, I am planning our final lifetime toaster purchase soon, a 125 quid--that's about 170 dollars--Dualit that someone promised me will be great.
Copyright 2018 by Laura Harrison McBride