Recently in the press, there were two article about bagels and pickles. I checked my Facebook account recently and found an article about how bagels were made in a factory setting. There was a big picture of baked bagels coming off the assembly line ready for delivery to major food stores, bodegas, coffee shops, etc. One of the interesting comments made were that people felt that they (the bagels) were of plain if no good quality and didn’t possess that extra something found in your local bagel bakery shop. I agree, they will never do so if not made with loving care in a shop that devotes itself to hand rolled bagels made with love and not mass produced. Think of that when you see bagels at a Starbucks (what New Yorker gets a bagel at a Starbucks?).
Another article came up in the New York Times recently about the last major pickle factory in New York (The Pickle Guy on Essex Street excepted). Here, just the opposite was said. Their pickles were sold to major food stores, restaurants and other eating establishments and they all said the pickles were good. Why is this true with pickles but not the bagels? Are the mass produced bagels made with out love versus the family owned pickle company whose every worker worships every cucumber that passes by them on a conveyor belt?
This is one of the curious wonders of New York. Perhaps it is the diametric difference between the two but I think it is something else. Anything that is made with love, and by that I mean local family owned establishments, brings a something to that they produce not found in assembly line mass production. Bagels, pickles, bialys and other food treats are best eaten from those same establishments who produce them and develop names for themselves. They have to be good or no one will buy. That which is produced by mega conglomerate companies just care about the bottom line.
So if you are going out for a bagel, pickle or whatever, go to the shops in you neighborhood and support them. If you don’t they will wither and die and all we will be left with is bland food that people just consume versus appreciate and savor.