I have to be in the mood for a bagel. If I were sentenced to a lifetime of never touching one again, I bet I’d be OK.
Growing up in a bagel-loving household, 460 miles west of New York City, bagels were always around. Friday nights, on her way home from work, my mom brought back a dozen from a stall in Cleveland’s West Side Market that, until last month, I assumed were authentic New York City bagels, considering the degree of glorification they received. Turns out they came from Canada and just “tasted more like New York bagels” than other availabilities in our parts.
As soon as the cream cheese gets spread on, they all taste the same to me. I like doughnuts.
My dad sometimes won’t spread anything onto one. He’ll eat them like apples. One birthday or Father’s Day I sent him a dozen from H&H Bagels, when I lived an avenue away from its Upper West Side location, and he said he’d never chewed better. It’s what most people said when they tried one. Years ago, when that H&H went out of business, I thought it meant the entire H&H empire erupted.
Last week, while thinking about what to send my dad this Father’s Day, I remembered how much he fancied that shipment of New York City bagels. I came close to shipping out a dozen from another place that’s probably not as good, making it through the first steps of an online checkout. Before pulling out my Visa card, something made me google “H&H Bagels,” for inspiration. I found a page for an H&H on the East Side and assumed it was outdated, but when I dialed its out-of-state delivery number someone picked up after two rings, eager to efficiently take my order and personalize a card.