Rhapsody in Schmalz

So yesterday, we’re talking to a friend and he says he doesn’t listen to music anymore. He just reads. We said, in the way that we say things when we don’t know if we approve or not but don’t really have anything to add, “That’s nice.” The gentleman in question said something we’re misquoting now as, “No, I’m not sure about that.” He elaborated, then ended it by saying that it’s a niche interest. What is? Reading. Reading? Really?

Now, at Fine Bagels, we’ve been suspicious of this for some time but, for our own miserable sake, not in need to anything more to add to our repertoire of “modern complaints which incite us to curse a world of ‘digital natives,'” we ignored this. Still, a conversation like that, be it true or not, we figured we ought to read a book this weekend, lest we be complicit. John Waters will tell you, “If you go home with someone and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them.”

Michael Wex, of Born to Kvetch fame, recently released a book whose title somehow, somehow, speaks to us as much as Born to Kvetch. We’re going to keep both of these on our bookshelf if only for the cover photos.

Should we be so rich to eat kreplach every day and so lucky to have a new Michael Wex book.


From Michael Wex’s website:

Bagels, deli sandwiches, and kosher dills are only a few of the Jewish foods to have crossed into American culture and onto non-Jewish plates. From the Bible and Talmud to the delis of North America, Rhapsody in Schmaltz traces the history and impact of the cuisine that Yiddish-speaking Jews from Central Eastern Europe brought across the Atlantic and that their North American descendants have developed and refined.

Alright. If reading really is such a niche hobby these days, at least a book for our niche interests.


Customer Style: Csilla

DSC_0976We had to ask Csilla if we could take her picture. Partially because we love her tidy bangs and bandana.

DSC_0993And partially because her ink is stunning.DSC_0987Csilla is Hungarian from Serbia but grew up in the Netherlands during and after the war. She  is a journalist and aspiring novelist and comes to visit our little shop to sit and write and drink fresh ginger tea. We asked her if she has a favorite bagel flavor but since she’s gluten-free, she can only admire them from afar (wistfully, we presume). As far as her style goes, she’s been getting tattooed for ten years and lets it be her dominant design element by sticking to simple and black ensembles. DSC_0981

Books by Their Covers

Penguin recently came out with these gorgeously designed Nancy Mitfords. The only time we gave reading a Nancy Mitford a try, it was when the author Mark Forsyth came to give a reading at the store. He’s awfully funny and clever and he suggested that we might enjoy one of her books. Talked it right up. Love in a Cold Climate is the one he recommended. Now, we live in Berlin. What else is there to know about love in a cold climate? But we endeavored, nonetheless, as surely this recommendation had merit. That was wrong. This recommendation had no merit. We didn’t like it. Not one bit. But we wish we had. Because these latest Penguins are a fantasy in watercolor. If you never bothered to look inside, this set would be a fantastic addition to a home library.
They should change it to say “A book only Evelyn Waugh could love.”
While we’re on watercolors…Brecht Evens’ The Wrong Place sure is nice.
It has pictures instead of long, tedious sentences, so it was easy for us. Easy is good, because it makes us feel smart and content. Easy plus pretty is even better.
It’s about a party.