The Bagel, By Maria Balinska

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The Independent Culture

The famous story of the Polish defeat of the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683 being celebrated by the croissant is now thought to be apocryphal. Another baked commemoration of this event is possibly more credible – rolls in the shape of turbans and stirrups ("beugels" in German). Certainly the bagel became a staple of Yiddish communities in Poland.

Balinska pursues the transatlantic journey of this sustaining snack from Warsaw street peddlers to the bakeries of New York's Lower East Side, where workers suffered equally dire conditions. The bagel went nationwide in the Sixties when a company called Lender's introduced the pre-frozen bagel.