Thursday, December 17, 2009

Just Don't Call It a Bagel, Please

I had never heard of Bruegger's bagels, but apparently there's one in Oak Park. Their claim to fame? Authentic kettle-boiled bagels fresh from the oven.

My father made bagels when I was very young. All I remember is that I got to roll them into snakes and form them into the doughnut shapes before he dropped them into a pot of boiling water, then baked them. I also remember that they were delicious, and the benchmark against which I measured every other bagel I ever ate.

I also grew up in a time when the only people who knew about bagels were New Yorkers and Jews. My best friend when I was 9 or 10 was at our house in Houston one morning and saw a bagel for the first time. I couldn't believe she didn't know what it was and promptly cut one in half, toasted it, spread a schmear of cream cheese on it,and presented it to her. I was ripe with expectation at her enjoyment of a newly-discovered treat.

She took a bite and made a face. "It's hard," she said, "and not sweet at all." She was expecting a doughnut, both in taste and texture, and was horribly disappointed. I didn't care. I loved my bagels - plain, poppy seed, garlic, onion and my all-time favorite: sesame seed. My idea of heaven is a toasted sesame-seed bagel with cream cheese and lox.

Once bagels became more widespread, it was inevitable that they would morph into more unusual flavors. While I do not, and never will, consider blueberry and cinnamon raisin to be legitimate bagel fare, I can grudgingly accept that others do, and that they happily consume them on a regular basis. It's almost as if, because they look like doughnuts, people keep trying to sweeten them up.

But I cannot wrap my mind around this new product that Bruegger's Bagels is introducing for the holiday season: the cinnamon-roll bagel.
The Cinnamon Roll Bagel is prepared using softer bagel dough combined with brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. After the bagel has been baked, it is drizzled with vanilla icing. -- from
I've become reconciled to the fact that people seem determined to sweeten up a savory roll. But a cinnamon roll bagel? Why? What purpose does it serve? If you want cinnamon roll flavor, why not just eat a cinnamon roll? Why ruin a perfectly good bagel?

I mean really. I don't know what it is, but it certainly isn't a bagel.

Image taken from

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