I can’t located a good picture of the bagels I bought, and I’m not taking a picture of the near depleted bag I now own after the fiasco that was me trying to get the pic of my painting properly uploaded. After a good hour fighting to make the thing to simply rotate counter-clockwise ninety degrees – an option labeled clearly and with a handy illustration – I gave up, left it as is, and decided not to look back. Which leads me to here. No picture. You’re going to have to use your imagination to picture the type of bagel I’m about to describe. Consider us participants both in the wonderful oral tradition.
Pastries are not my breakfast food of choice. I like donuts, of course, but they’re more of a dessert to me. Pancakes are my favorite food ever (seriously), and they can be on the sweeter side yes, though I’m more of a purist here with plain buttermilk being the end-all-be-all of food things. The reason I’m explaining this is it helps to know my proclivities for what I’m going to explain.
It’s not as dramatic as I’m making it out to be.
Maple Leaf Baking Inc. has these New York Style bagels (established in 1880, supposedly) of the Cinnamon variety which are, in short, incredible. I’m not sure what kids these days are saying, but if “the bomb” was anywhere in their vocabulary, it would be used here and liberally. I grabbed them on a whim. It could have been any other bag, any other brand. I pulled without discrimination. They sat on my own shelf until morning where I pulled one out and placed it in another bag for the drive to work, not realizing how special these circles were. I was coming down the off ramp – or is it the on ramp? I don’t know – merging first into the flow of traffic before removing the bagel. Taking a bite was a moment of clarity. I’ve heard it referred to as an “ah ha” moment, and maybe it was that too, though I would shift more toward an “oh my” or an “mmmmmm”. The bread was soft. Not chewy. Not tough. Near-enough melt against the top of your tongue the way chocolate might. Cinnamon swirls coated some of the bites, allowing for small changes to the palate. The raisins were, wonderfully, bright. Some bagel-raisins turn gritty over time, making me feel as though I’m eating through a fistful of sand. Not these. Just the right mix of sweet and savory.
Even if you don’t like bagels, you should eat one. If you can find them. It took some searching on the bag to discover the name – Maple Leaf Baking is only in the fine print – and even more to try and find an online stock image, with none of those producing the same picture as what sits now on the counter. Perhaps I have the only bag in existence, happening upon some Grimm-like tale which will end poorly once the bag has emptied. And, honestly, I’d be okay with that. The trade, whatever it is, may well be worth the price of the bagels.