Thursday, May 16, 2013

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Hot Bagels (with Ham)

We enjoy a many excellent things here in Southern California. Our bagels, regrettably, are too soft, too airy, too...bland. They should be chewy, savory, just a little tacky to the tooth. When I stumbled across a digitized version of Hot Bagels this morning, I was reminded of everything I miss about well-made bagels from back East; making by hand, simmering in scalding water, and tearing into a hot, fresh one with my teeth. Really. You doesn't just daintily nip off the part you want; that part needs to be pulled apart with a strong bite and a firm grip. 

The bulk of the old 16mm film  from the Brooklyn Public Library shows bagels being made in Brooklyn.  In it, bagel — enthusiast is too tame a word. Obsessive? Yes, bagel obsessive Marty Rosenblatt can hardly contain his excitement to order a dozen. Ham isn't often found in bagel shops, but here Rosenblatt lays it on thick:
Hiya, Freddie baby, give me a life's blood! Without bagels, what is a day? Yeah, make it a dozen assorted. Dat's it, give me the garlic, the sesame, the onion; give me them all baby, that's it! They're still handmade eh? Hot bagels! Wait a second, let me PAY yah! Here you are, kid. 

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