The New Yorker

The State of the Bagel – The New Yorker

So, too, is a young woman named Elyssa Heller, across the river, at her indefinitely running pop-up, Edith’s (60 Greenpoint Avenue, Brooklyn, in the pizzeria Paulie Gee’s), which offers what you might call your great-great-grandmother’s bagels—hand-rolled but also twisted, as in Old World Poland. They’re as personal to Heller as Strausman’s are to him: boiled in water flavored with honey instead of malt, they refer also to Montreal bagels (Heller went to college in Canada), and are made with flour milled from heirloom grains grown in Illinois, her home state.

Edith was Heller’s great-aunt, who once ran a deli in Brooklyn, and whose archive of recipes, many scrawled on paper plates or napkins, inspired some of the pop-up’s dishes, including the smoked-trout salad, served on a bagel with house-cultured cream cheese, sliced radish, and trout roe. Otherwise, Heller aims to explore the Jewish diaspora. She hesitated before offering schnecken, traditional German-Jewish sweet buns whose name (German for “snails”) doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. “I was a little nervous that people wouldn’t get it and they couldn’t pronounce it,” Heller told me the other day. But, she said, “we want to tell stories with our food.”

Edith’s schnecken encase sour cherries and Turkish pistachios, or honey seasoned with the paprika-forward Middle Eastern spice mix baharat. But perhaps the best represented of the planet’s scattered populations of Jews is the one right here in New York, in the form of a bagel sandwich called the BEC&L. That’s “B” for bacon (with apologies to the rebbes), paired with egg, Cheddar cheese, and a gloriously crispy, thick golden latke.