East And West Coasts Face Off In Brooklyn Bagel Debate

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The Brooklyn Kitchen, a supply store and school, housed an important debate last week, when two Jewish food experts sat down to decide: where can you get a good bagel?

The consensus was: not in many places.

Michael Zusman is an Oregon-based food writer who just published “The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home,” a cookbook capturing the resurgent demand for Jewish delicacies. Noah Bernamoff is the co-founder of Mile End, the Brooklyn deli that helped start the current resurgence in Jewish delis.

Suspiciously, the debate did not include a native New Yorker to represent what is arguably the American home of the bagel. Bernamoff originally hails from Montreal, a town proud of its smaller, sweeter, wood-fired bagels.

The choice of participants suggested an evening of fierce back-and-forth. Not only were a lot of bragging rights at stake, but both men have backgrounds in the courts. Zusman is a lawyer and “referee” in the Oregon court system, and Bernamoff dropped out of law school to pursue his culinary dreams.

But instead, Zusman said they “actually agree on 90 percent of this stuff,” according to the Jewish Week. Their biggest point of agreement seemed to be the sorry state of many bagels.

The two also agreed that traditional Jewish food will have a hard time competing with trendier foods, and that bagels should never be used for meat sandwiches.

Lox and whitefish, which were served at the event, are apparently acceptable.

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