Friday, February 19, 2010

Tenement Talk, February 18: The Bagel

above, a vintage Lender's Bagel commercial. Lender's, feh!
Below, since I didn't bring my camera, a photoshopped facsimile of Maria Balinska and Ed Levine at the Tenement Museum last night. It was excellent and well-attended.

Ed Levine spoke with Maria Balinska about her book, The Bagel: The Surprising History of a Modest Bread
Some highlights:
Of special interest to KVers and old 4th Warders is the link of the Italian ciambella to the Jewish bagel. Something I never knew.
The might of the bagel union. An excerpt from wikipedia
The Bagel Bakers Local 338 was a trade union local that was established in the early 1900s in New York City and whose craftsmen were the primary makers of New York's bagels, prepared by hand, until the advent of machine-made bagels in the 1960s led to its end as an independent organization in the 1970s.
Jewish immigrants brought the bagel to the United States at the turn of the 20th century, with hundreds of small bagel bakeries sprouting up in Manhattan's Lower East Side, in which workers worked under difficult conditions for minimal wages. To represent these workers, The International Beigel Bakers Union was established. Local 338 was established by 300 bagel craftsmen who joined together in Manhattan, establishing standards for bagel production by hand and mandating that new spots in the union be handed to sons of existing local members. All of the local's members were Jewish and meetings were conducted in Yiddish. By 1915, the local had contracts with 36 bakeries in the New York City area.

Who knew of a Montreal bagel
In addition:
Ed Levine's excellent site called Serious Eats
A 2008 nytimes' article about Maria Balinska and the publishing of the hard cover version of her book
An interesting article about the final resting place of the old bagel makers in Staten Island by Benjamin Feldman

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