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"A fascinating topic and one that Maria Balinska treats superbly. . . . I especially admire her scholarship, lively prose and tireless reportorial digging."—Joan Nathan, Moment
"Balinska gives readers plenty to chew on. . . . Thoroughly entertaining.”—Dara Horn, Wall Street Journal
‘[The bagel has] found a fresh and lively chronicler in Maria Balinska, who seems as much at home with the bagel’s Polish and Jewish past as with its all-American present … Light and piquant, and yet at the same time seriously satisfying, The Bagel is anything but stodgy fare.’ - Michael Kerrigan, The Scotsman
". . . [A] history of and love-letter to Jewish culture. . . . ranges stylishly from the lifting of the siege of Vienna . . . through . . . the Nazi ghettos . . . to the post-war New York bagel-baking unions and the gradual transformation of the bagel into an 'all-American' food." — Steven Poole, Guardian
From the Italian ciambella in a 17th-century portrait of a young prince to the 1959 album Bagels and Bongos by pianist Irving Fields, journalist and BBC radio editor Balinska traces the cultural identity of a New York City icon from its humble beginnings in Poland to the freezer section of American supermarkets. Balinska's own interest in the bagel began with a year spent in Warsaw, Poland, as a graduate student, where she learned that her "own family history was relevant to that of the bagel." She then unearths a plethora of little-known facts about this breakfast staple, recounting its role in children's nursery rhymes, Poland's economic crisis of 1929, even its place in a McCall's magazine spread in 1963 next to Shirley Temple where the magazine encouraged its readers to "Join the stars below in this salute to Manhattan's most popular breakfast-bagels and lox." While the book may be too dry for the run-of-the- mill bagel lover, academics and dedicated foodies will appreciate Balinska's considerable research as well as her forays into the late 19th-century Jewish immigrant experience and American pop culture. Photos. (Nov.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Though the bagel is a diminutive food, its impact on culture, culinary arts, philosophy, and politics has been considerable.
Posted April 14, 2009
The history of the Bagel I found very interesting, not knowing where it had originated. The author's description and how it all started I found very intriging. The author also included history of the country where it all started and how it became so popular in the United States. I would recommend this to anyone interested in a variety of foods.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.