November 28, 2019

Montreal Bagel Endangered?

The New York Times reports that there's an environmental threat to the Montreal bagel:

The battle heated up late last year when rumors began to circulate that a City Hall official was planning to ban the ovens, which emit fine particles that can aggravate respiratory ailments like asthma. Angry neighbors had complained to the city and some were boycotting the vaunted bagel shops.

More interesting though is seeing how the bagel inspires a sense of identity and civic pride.

He noted that, in a province that recently passed a law banning teachers, judges and police from wearing religious symbols like turbans or skullcaps while at work, the bagel had become a secular symbol of civic pride. That, he added, was helped by its manifest superiority to New York bagels.
“New York bagels are like rolls with holes, they are tasteless,” he said. “Toronto’s are even worse, they taste like paperweights or hockey pucks. In the minds of Montrealers, every other bagel is ‘Meh.’”
Some New Yorkers retort that Montreal bagels are sweeter, and therefore more like doughnuts than bagels, a criticism that Lesley Chesterman, a leading Montreal food critic, called “absurd.” (In fact, baking bagels Montreal-style now has New York adherents.)