The Bagel…

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bagel

Welcome to Friday. Every Friday my office has a ritual – BAGELS!!!! I will state right up front..I LOVE BAGELS!!! – the more butter the better! Actually butter and cream cheese together – is my preferred topping. So, every Friday these beautiful lumps of white flour, surrounded by an assortment of flavored spreads welcome me. Ok, so out of sight out of mind? NOT! Even if I don’t walk by the area where these bagels are displayed..I know they are there. As I sit in my office, I watch a host of fellow employees walk by carrying this delicacy back to their desks. Today bagels are a common food, but that was not always the norm. In 1971, I made my first trip to New Orleans. The previous summer I had attended Camp Stanley in the Catskill Mountains of New York state. Camp Stanley was a “fat farm” – a camp for girls who needed to lose weight. I loved that camp…but I’ll save that detail for another story. Anyway…I met a fellow camper who was from New Orleans. She invited me to come visit for Mardi Gras. I jumped at the invitation. The date was February 1971, and I was on my way to the Big Easy. Polite and proper person that I am – I asked what I could bring as a gift. Without hesitation, my host said “bagels!”. On my way to the Philly airport I stopped at the bagel bakery and picked up two dozen fresh out of the oven bagels. I arrived in New Orleans, and took a taxi to my friends’ home. Keep in mind – this was decades before “Google maps” – so I had no idea where I was going, and what my friends home would look like. The taxi pulled up to the most beautiful mansion I had ever seen. I had only seen homes like this in the movies…it was spectacular. The butler opened the door, and the family greeted me. The upstairs maid showed me to my guest room. My room was so large; it had two bathrooms…and a bell to ring when I wanted the maid! I was in shock!
I handed the maid my box of fresh bagels. She took the box and told me dinner would be served in an hour in the formal dining room. An hour later I walked into this very formal room, and sat down at the dinner table. Yes, I felt like a fish out of water. Dinner was served. The meal? A sirloin roast, with an assortment of vegetables – and a bagel. I did all I could to not laugh. A bagel and steak? For dinner? Where was the cream cheese? All’s well that ends well…my host and her family loved the bagels. And in case you are wondering..the next morning the kitchen staff prepared croissants served with marmalade and butter. Not so bad!

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