I read Eat, Pray, Love a few months back. Great book. I took up meditating on my bedroom floor in a Snuggie for 3 days after I finished it.
Then, I finally got around to seeing the accompanying movie this weekend.
Yeah, about that..
I walked away from that flick with three major thoughts: I want to ride an elephant, I need to eat pizza in Naples, Julia Robert’s actually needs the pizza way more than I. She’s looking pretty hungry.
The whole shebang fell painfully short of serving the literary version any justice whatsoever.
I was not left inspired to go hone in on my inner-most, enigmatic state of consciousness. I was however, driven to break out my blanket with sleeves. ..I reckon that’s a start.
Perhaps, had the director not dedicated such extensive coverage musical montages featuring Julia chowing down on food I want , there might have been time to actually expound upon one or two significant details of the book.
Psh what am I even saying? I’m not a book critic. I’m not a film critic. I’m just overly critical.
Sorry, but it’s such a downer when things aren’t as good as they’re supposed to be.
Fortunately, that was not the case with these bagels.
Oh no, honey child.
Not gonna say I didn’t have doubts that I, a wee Gentile whose spent a whopping 2 hours of her existence in New Jersey, could make legit bagels in my own kitchen. I surely did.
But these bagels came out externally crisp, internally chewy soft, and practically pleading for a smear of cream cheese . Just as you should rightfully expect of any decent young bagel.
It just goes to show, even in the midst of this nutty universe, bagels will never fail you.
If you find yourself coping with stress at work, frustration in relationships, or disappointment from your chosen cinematic entertainment outlet…I say go home, and make some bagels.
It’s beautifully a therapeutic endeavor..
Creating a bread product from scratch makes ya feel all good about yourself, pulverizing dough like the beastly beast that you are is nothing but good, and when it’s all said and done…you have bagels. Hot fresh bagels. Can you honestly imagine any greater zen moment than losing it in a complete mouth-load of carbalicious bagel beauty?
Uh huh, see now, we’ve got our own spiritual healing tools.
Take that Julia Roberts, with your fauxga yoga. You’re not fooling anyone. We all know you don’t sit still for expansive periods. Or eat bread.
Geeze I’m mean. I’ll stop bashing J-Rob now. It’s really not fair to stick her with all my bitter discontentment.
Besides, who’s really about to stay bitter when they have 12 yeasty golden rings awaiting in the kitchen?
I mean, it’s a known fact…everyone digs bagels. They are, after all, the bodacious boss of breakfast breads.
Find me someone with functioning molars who legit doesn’t care for the bagel. Seriously, manage that one, hot shot. You ain’t gonna.
I happen to have two close friends who each posses an exceptional infatuation for bagels. Like beyond the normal spectrum.
For privacy sake, let’s name them…bagel chick 1 & bagel bagel chick 2. So catchy.
Okay, bagel chick 1 has rather strict specifications concerning bagels. See, her dad is what this girl calls a “Jersey Jew;” thus, she’s serious when it comes to bagels. Just for kicks, tell her that you usually eat your store-bought bagels with yogurt and sliced banana…do it, see what happens.
In her world, bagels are eaten with cream cheese. The end. A bagel is not a doughnut. Don’t you dare try to make it sweet. Onion bagel, poppy seed bagel, everything bagel…great. Cinnamon raisin bagel…get out, you’re an embarrassment. If you’re really feeling frisky, make a bagel breakfast sandwich or break out some veggie cream cheese…but don’t push it.
Now bagel chick 2, totally different story. All’s fair in love and bagels.
Literally, she could eat a bagel for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. I’ve witnessed her eat bagels for multiple meals in a day. Bagel chick 2 has developed an impressive knack for developing creative ways to dress a bagel depending on the given meal. Strange…but awesome.
Lesson to be had from this brief tale of two bagelistas… no matter which way you want them, bagels are the bomb.
Eat a bagel today, pray you get another one tomorrow, then love it when you do.
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse
- 2 cups warm water, about 110 degrees F
- 2 (1/4-ounce) packets active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour (I substituted half whole-wheat)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Combine the water, yeast, and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in a large bowl . Stir and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Gradually add 4 cups of the flour and the salt, and mix with an electric mixer until the mixture comes together.
Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups additional flour 1/2 cup at a time to make a stiff dough, either stirring with the wooden spoon or working with your hands. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and no longer sticky, about 5 minutes, adding just as much flour as needed. (Dough should be heavier and stiffer than regular yeast bread dough.)
Grease a large bowl with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until almost doubled, about 1 hour.
Remove from the bowl and punch down the dough. Divide into 12 equal pieces, about 2 to 3 ounces each, measuring about 4 inches across. Form each piece of dough into a ball. Poke your index finger through the center of the ball forming a hole. Expand the hole and mold into a bagel shape (make the hole slightly larger than you ultimately want as it will shrink in baking). Repeat with the remaining dough. Place on a lightly greased surface, cover with a clean cloth, and let rest until risen but not doubled in a draft-free spot, 20 to 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Grease a baking sheet with the remaining teaspoon of oil.
In a large, heavy pot, bring 12 cups of water and the remaining tablespoon of sugar to a boil. In batches, add the bagels to the water and boil, turning, for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Flip bagels onto the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 5 minutes, turn over and cook for another 30 to 35 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.