New Jersey’s Bread’s got a Hole in It

When the boss picks up breakfast for a morning meeting, what does he/she bring? When you need a grab-n-go meal to start your day or on the run for lunch, in New Jersey it’s easy to get a bagel. It wasn’t until a recent trip to California that I realized how abundant bagel shops are here and how scarce they are out there. Everything is sourdough bread – enough already. On a road trip, you want to keep breakfast simple – I looked for bagels in San Francisco and every place south along the Pacific Coast Highway and didn’t see one sign for “bagels.”

Immigrant Polish-Jews brought bagels to the U.S. and flourished with them in New York City.  But it wasn’t until the late 20thCentury that they became widely popular in North America. It expanded into frozen distribution with the bagel baker Harry Lender (the familiar Lender’s bagels).

oBagels are traditionally shaped with a hole in the middle, from a long piece of dough. The dough is then proofed and boiled in water that usually has honey, baking soda or malt syrup, which gives it the defining chewy texture and shiny appearance. The final baking browns it off and produces the crunchy signature exterior. A multitude of seeds, such as sesame, poppy, caraway, and additives like dried onion, garlic, salt provide different options. But I’m a fan of the everything bagel as long as it’s sans caraway.

FUN FACT: Prison inmates are banned from eating poppy bagels, as it can show up as an opiate on a drug test, so remember that next time you visit your friend – stick to sneaking in plain bagels.

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For the purpose of this article, New Jersey is like the fifth borough of Manhattan and proven so when it comes to this bread with the hole in it. When playing tennis this past winter at Binghamton Racquet Club, we all were hungry after at 9 or 10 a.m. and right across the lot is Mr. Bagelsworth, offering every flavor bagel we’re all familiar with, along with in-store-made flavored cream cheeses. They also can put coldcuts or eggs on your sandwich. Unlike most bagel shops this has tables, so the seeds don’t wind up on your car seat. The web site claims “authentic, hand-rolled New York-style.” They are good in the way you expect your traditional bagel to be. So, c’mon; let’s not piggyback on New York-style. I suppose we have to because of the history and the association with the best quality.

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There would be too many bagel shops to name for New Jersey, and there are too many good ones to suggest others. This is my pick for the day. If your New Jersey town doesn’t have a bagel shop, I suggest you move to the next town over. They most likely do.


Evelyn Weiss Francisco yn Weiss Francisco The eNJoy Eateryis a Foodie and blogger from the Garden State. Her Blog, “Dishing on Dining“, has been running continuously since January of 2012. By day, Evelyn is a busy account executive with a Public Relations firm, by night, a writer with a passion for all things food related.

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