Gene Marx 
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Re: “Schmendricks Continues the Bagel Revolution


Yes, the "baker made a roll in the shape of the king's stirrup and called it a beugel" segment is speculative, but still possible.

What I'm focusing on though are the reasons for the Bagel, the "decree of 1496 limiting the production of white bread and Obwarzanek". Both Jews and Catholics baked all of these, so anti-semitism was not a factor in the motive for producing the Bagel.

Posted by Gene Marx on 07/04/2012 at 4:18 AM

Re: “Schmendricks Continues the Bagel Revolution

Dear Luk Tsai and East Bay Express,

Now the history of the Bagel is being revised to being invented as a response to "anti-semitic legislation"? I think the reader gets the wrong impression when reading your article, as the entire story is incomplete.

It was not only the Jews who couldn't bake bread, this included Catholic bakers as well. It applied to the production of both "White Bread" and "Obwarzanek", and Jewish bakers were *not* the only ones producing this.

The history actually goes like this, according to the best source of the Bagel's history by Maria Balinska's "The Bagel: The Surprising History of a Modest Bread" :

"Polish-born and half-Jewish, Balinska, who works at the BBC in London, tells us that the boiled and baked bagel as we know it comes from her homeland. She tells the story of the Krakow bagel, which was a product of the 1683 Battle of Vienna. Although the story is completely speculative and perhaps even fictitious, it is a piece of gastronomic lore that has endured throughout the ages. As the story goes, 17th-century Poland was the breadbasket of Europe, and King Jan Sobieski was the first king not to confirm the decree of 1496 limiting the production of white bread and obwarzanek (bagellike rolls whose name derives from a word meaning "to parboil") to the Krakow bakers guild. This meant that Jews could finally bake bread within the confines of the city walls. Furthermore, when Sobieski saved Austria from the Turkish invaders, a baker made a roll in the shape of the king's stirrup and called it a beugel (the Austrian word for stirrup). As Balinska says, "Whatever its origin, the story of the bagel being created in honor of Jan Sobieski and his victory in Vienna has endured."


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Posted by Gene Marx on 07/03/2012 at 8:53 PM

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