Monday, December 03, 2007

Regional Bagel Quirks

I suppose this *could* be a wine and foodies topic, but I'm putting this here in the usual rantings and ravings that is the main blog. Besides, I've got a perfectly good Wine and Foodies topic that we'll probably write later. Yes, both of us at the same time.

Yesterday, I had to arrive at work early to prepare for the second week of classes I was leading for the customers. I enjoy this, and have mentioned this a few times. The one thing I don't enjoy is that this being the time of extended store hours, I need to get up at 6:30am on a Sunday to ensure that I'm there with time to spare.

One of the associates helping is a poor college student. Great guy, full of youthful exuberance (and sarcasm, we need sarcasm). We worked together on Saturday night and I'd asked him if he'd adjust his start time to come in with the rest of us a half hour earlier. He perked up with an expression similar to my kids knowing that NORAD has shown Santa is about to deliver to our house. He had an idea.

Donuts? He asked. Ahh, I'm asking him to show up earlier than is normal, thus preventing him from getting food. My response is that perhaps I can get some Krispy Krack. He was giddy. Happy Happy, Joy Joy, the boss is getting me breakfast could be seen swirling over his head! Further thought on my part brought the realization that if I get the donuts, halfway through the class, my stomach would be growling like Elliot, Pete's Dragon. Energy boost, yes. Puff of donut filling stomach, not likely. Not the best way to lead a class.

My thoughts drifted to breakfast foods that I will eat and are suitable for a few people. Bagels! We've got a few chains and some honest to God, real type bagel places down here. It is true about the water, though-the bagels here are denser and far chewier than up north. I have to toast them unless I'm in NY. I'll never find a good hard roll here, so I gravitate towards the bagel.

I go back to my associate and tell him I'd decided that I should get bagels. Once again, he's happy. Cinnamon Crunch? Uhh, the bagel place I'm thinking of has cinnamon raisin, will that do? It will and I stop at the little bagel place on my way into work.

Now, in NY, if you get Bagels or Bialys, odds are great that the varieties you'll find sell the most are the savories: Garlic, Salt, Onion or Everything. Sometimes Sesame or Poppy will round out the top six. The NY bagel shops do have sweet bagels, but I suspect that they're usually reserved for the wee ones.

The toppings are decidedly savory, too. Number one bagel choice in the Big Apple is Lox and bagels-smoked salmon and cream cheese piled high. Standing in line at one of the local chains finds more sweet selections-strawberry cream cheese, honey and peanut butter. If frosting were a choice, I wonder how well it would sell!

Honestly, I'd never even heard of a cinnamon raisin bagel until I'd moved to Maryland. Bruegger's had them, but I barely noticed them in the haste to get my everything with veggie cream cheese. See what I mean? It wasn't until I went back to NY for a visit that I even realized that bagel places HAD sweet bagels.

I've noticed that the further south I go, the more people go for the sweet bagels. Cinnamon, Blueberry, Honey. Meanwhile, if I want something sweet, it'll be a danish, donut or something like that. Bagels? They've got to be savory.

The purchase yesterday was split down the middle to accommodate the half northern, half southern makeup of the team working the class. Two cinnamon raisin and a blueberry, an everything, a poppy and a salt. Those who partook? Three of us-I had the poppy, a fellow NYer had the salt and the associate requesting had the cinnamon raisin. This means I brought home two bagels that wouldn't pass muster in our house.

My breakfast this morning was the blueberry with cream cheese. Perhaps if I hadn't spent my life preferring onion or everything bagels, it would have been enjoyable. Since I got my savory fix yesterday, I left the everything for Ed. It wouldn't be nice to hog all the good bagels, would it?

After living in three regions of the US, it always is interesting to notice these food quirks. There are plenty of savory breakfast choices around here to go with the sweet. Grits, anyone? What is it that makes the southern palate crave sweet bagels?

There is one benefit to this I suppose-more everything bagels for me. Ha!

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