Sunday, January 4, 2015

You Call This a Bagel?

Yes, I am a Jersey Girl and damn proud of it.

No, I do not say Jouy-zee.

Yes, I grew up down the shore.

Yes, I will drive an hour for good pizza (and pass two thousand places on the way)

No, I never pumped gas until I left the state.

And, oh boy do I miss real bagels!

Living in Missouri I got pretty desperate for a good, crispy outside and chewy inside properly flavored, saliva-inducing to think about, honest-to-god bagel. You just can't get anything out here that even comes close. 

I've tried to quell the craving with Einstein Bros Bagels, they are ok.... and by ok I mean horrible and I would never eat one if I was anywhere near driving distance to Yorktown Bagels in Manalapan, NJ
Bagel perfection, still warm sesame with cream cheese

No matter how far I travel this is one food (along with pork roll) that I will always crave and search for. 

Every visit home I freeze and transport a dozen or so precious bagels back to Missouri with me, worrying all the way that they might start to thaw if I don't get back fast enough. Fresh these things are worthy of song and folklore, frozen and toasted they are almost as good. 

But what does a girl do when there just is no going home, and no convincing my parents that overnight mailing food to me is a great idea?

You spend a year trying to recreate perfection. Yes, a whole year of trial and error, of feeding the neighborhood and hearing that your creations are "delicious" and "awesome" but knowing they can't even hold a candle to their inspiration. 

In Columbia, MO there is an attempt at a bagel shop. Yes, they sell baked dough with a hole in the middle.... but its not the same! No relief to be found for a Jersey craving.

From yeast, flour and love I crafted batch after batch of tasty creations, but no one was worthy of the title of Bagel. I tried different flours, yeasts, boiling times, oven temperatures, flavor combinations and still failure. 

Although, now I do make one heck of a cheesecake, apple pie and fruit tart with pastry cream!

Boiling pot with baking soda and molasses

One batch of attempts: cheddar jalepeno, Asiago basil, and apple cinnamon 
Perfect cheesecake with raspberry and chocolate swirl. 

Mom's apple pie, made by me

This happened: pastry cream, almond flour crust fruit tart

 I've come to accept that while I'm away from my home state, there will be no bagels. And thats ok. Really. I'll always have a little sand in my heart and sun in my hair.