Comments for Bagelmania
I associate books with places — either where I first heard of a book, or where I was when I read it. In the case of Bagelmania by Mountain Lion Books, I remember I was running errands through Hayward when NPR had an article about the book. As soon as I got home I added the book to my GoodReads wishlist.
It took me four years to locate a copy. I found it finally via Better World Books. It was worth the time and effort.
Bagelmania is a compendium of all things bagel. It starts with a brief history, including possible word origins. In the history section it mostly focuses on the early days in New York and then on how Lender started freezing bagels to make it easier to sell them long distance.
The book also has lots of nutritional information. The calorie counts take into account the different sizes and flavors of bagels, as well as popular toppings. Then at the back of the book, there is a whole section of recipes for different bagel sandwiches.
In the middle there's some cultural thoughts on bagels, as well as the adoption rates of bagels outside the Jewish community. As of the book's publishing in 1987, it was estimated that most people in the United States still hadn't tried a bagel. I did my own informal poll on Google+ and Twitter. From my circles and followers, about 1% answered. Of that group, 95% had actually eaten a bagel.
If I had one complaint, it's that too much of the book is focused on Lenders Bagels. I realize they're the heavy hitter in the bagel industry (now owned by Kraft, which the book also outlines) but I wanted something a little less focused. Although I've eaten dozens of bagels in my life time, only rarely have I eaten a Lenders bagel.