It's not just a stereotype, it's true. Or maybe it's true because it's a stereotype (I can never remember how that works.) Either way, through recessions, depressions, and even through Atkins (but not Passover), the Jewish people have persevered by eating bagels with a shmear almost everyday -- and twice on Sundays.
Sure, there are debates; arguments even, over which city can lay claim to the best bagels around. While New Yorkers swear by their sturdy spheres, Torontonians say the fluffier the better. Meanwhile, don't go counting out Vancouver so soon.
As for my personal preference, I enjoy the dense sweetness of a sesame seed Montreal bagel.
When I was a student at McGill and local Jewish boys would take me out on dates, if the evening was going well it was a sure sign that the Montreal Jew would be taking me for a hot bag of midnight bagels from St. Viateur.
I came to think of it as a Semitic parting gift.
The world's love affair with the humble bagel continues, with new books, new flavours, and I'd like to think a new appreciation for one of the greatest baked goods of all time (eat your heart out, matzoh.)
Here's a helpful roundup of the bagels I have eaten across Canada. Feel free to weigh in if I've missed any of your favourites. I'm sure I have. And I'm sure you will.
Especially if you're Jewish.