After years of fierce battle and billions of lost, starchy calories, the Jewish Daily Forward has declared an end to one of modern Jewish culture’s greatest divides: New York vs. Montreal bagels.
“In the name of the most holy and individual Trinity (bagels, schmear and lox — of course),” the treaty outlines several points of general bagel etiquette meant to be agreeable to both sides. These include: shunning sweet bagels (like blueberry or chocolate chip); never consuming a stale bagel; and never, under any circumstances, eating a Lender’s, “even when no other bagel is available.”
The treaty even stipulates that each city is permitted to maintain that its bagel is superior, while acknowledging that the other city’s bagel is “respectable.”
The impetus for the treaty was the opening of Black Seed, a new New York City bagelry that is a partnership between Mile End’s Noah Bernamoff (a Montreal native) and Matt Kliegman of The Smile (a New Yorker). Black Seed’s bagels draw on elements from both cities:
“The bagels are small, baked in a wood oven and boiled in a kettle of water sweetened with honey (all techniques from the North Country). But the dough is also allowed to ferment overnight as is traditionally done with New York bagels…”
Montreal has long been proud of its bagels, which are generally smaller, sweeter, and crispier than their New York counterparts. And New York’s status as undisputed Bagel Capital of the World has taken a hit over the decades, as bagel sizes soared and quality dipped due to machination and loss of traditional practices.