The Bagel: The Surprising History of a Modest Bread

The Bagel: The Surprising History of a Modest Bread

by Maria Balinska
     
 

"If smoked salmon and cream cheese bring only one thing to mind, you can count yourself among the world's millions of bagel mavens. But few people are aware of the bagel's provenance, let alone its adventuresome history. This charming book tells the remarkable story of the bagel's journey from the tables of seventeenth-century Poland to the freezers of middle America… See more details below

Overview

"If smoked salmon and cream cheese bring only one thing to mind, you can count yourself among the world's millions of bagel mavens. But few people are aware of the bagel's provenance, let alone its adventuresome history. This charming book tells the remarkable story of the bagel's journey from the tables of seventeenth-century Poland to the freezers of middle America today, a story of often surprising connections between a cheap market-day snack and centuries of Polish, Jewish, and American history." Research in international archives and numerous personal interviews uncover the bagel's links with the defeat of the Turks by Polish King Jan Sobieski in 1683, the Yiddish cultural revival of the late nineteenth century, and Jewish migration across the Atlantic to America. There the story moves from the bakeries of New York's Lower East Side to the Bagel Bakers' Local 388 Union of the 1960s, and the attentions of the mob. For all its modest size, the bagel has managed to bridge cultural gaps, rescue kings from obscurity, charge the emotions, and challenge received wisdom. Maria Balinska weaves together a rich, quirky, and evocative history of East European Jewry and the unassuming ring-shaped roll the world has taken to its heart.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300158205
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
09/29/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
242
Sales rank:
1,485,522
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations Acknowledgements Note to Readers Introduction Ch. 1 The Family Tree 1 Ch. 2 Of Bagels and Kings 20 Ch. 3 Rituals, Rhymes and Revolutions: How the Bagel Lost its Worth but Kept its Value 44 Ch. 4 Bagel Polemics in an Independent Poland 69 Ch. 5 Boiling Over: The Immigrant Bagel and the Struggle for Workers' Rights 96 Ch. 6 'Kings of the Line': The Story of Bagel Bakers' Union Local No. 338 120 Ch. 7 The 'Bagelising' of America 148 Postscript 180 Notes 196 Further Reading 206 Index 211

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