In Praise of the Bagel at Cafe Rozella

I grew up in West Texas and did not experience a bagel until I left for college on the East Coast.  Early in my college career, I was in line to get breakfast when I spotted a basket full of, what I thought were, donuts.  I put the “donut” on my plate and saved it for last.  Having wiped the scrambled eggs off my plate, I picked up “the donut” and wondered why it felt, so crusty and kind of heavy.  I bit into it and was instantly horrified.  Not only was it not sweet, it had the consistency of lead.  I spit it out, all the while swearing.  My Jewish friends, laughed and laughed.  That was my introduction to the bagel.

Over time, I not only came to appreciate the bagel’s charms, but actually to become addicted to this wonderful food.  Little did I know that this bread, which I associated with the East Coast, would become the journeyman of foods: always ready to do proper service, no matter the occassion.  Bagels have improved since we used to get them frozen in Lender’s packets at the supermarket.  Today, we can feast on a real bagel, much as you would in New York City, 20 years ago.  As described by William Safire in the New York Times, the true bagel has the following qualities.

A bagel is a round bread, with a hole in the middle, made of simple ingredients: high-gluten flour, salt, water, yeast and malt. Its dough is boiled, then baked, and the result should be a rich caramel color; it should not be pale and blond. A bagel should weigh four ounces or less and should make a slight cracking sound when you bite into it. A bagel should be eaten warm and, ideally, should be no more than four or five hours old when consumed. All else is not a bagel.

A bagel is a meal in itself.  Throw on some cream cheese and marmalade and you have a slice of heaven.  Which is why we always strive to keep pastry case full of fresh bagels at Cafe Rozella.  Nothing, in my view, goes better with a hot cup of coffee, on a cold gray day.

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2 Responses to “In Praise of the Bagel at Cafe Rozella”

  1. Since you have experienced a proper East Coast bagel, I have some hope that the bagels at Cafe Rozella are the real thing. I will have to try one! (But do you have lox?)

  2. I must investigate…are those salt bagels in the picture?