I live in a town with a large Jewish population. In fact, when I moved here, that was a big draw for me when I moved here. I've always appreciated Jewish culture and there is a great deal of great Kosher food, which I thought I might find in town.
Fast forward four years and my disappointment knows no bounds. The best local deli doubles as a convenience store, which is fine if you want basic cold cuts, but not so much if you would like hot pastrami or corned beef. Challah bread, tastes like mediocre white bread. Pickles, I need to go to the Amish Market two towns away...actually, they sell a good challah bread as well, so I should consider moving to Lancaster and eating like a king.
And then there are the bagels. While not just identified with Kosher food, I've often found that good bagels are often found in proximity to Jewish communities. In fact, if I look out my window right now, I can see the closed bagel shop. There is a kitchy poster of Rosey the Riveter and some of the worst bagels you can imagine. Now, I suspect part of it is the water, which in this town is not exactly first-rate. But still, the bagels manage to be dry on the inside and odd tasting at even 7 AM, so they should not be stale.
But yesterday, I was out for a bit of a drive, not of my own volition. And as I drove, I found a bagel store two towns over. Making a hard right into an icy parking lot, I head into the bagel store, expecting to be disappointed. Well, on my second entrance, as the bagel store had an odd rear entrance I did not feel comfortable entering, since it felt like I was about to enter their kitchen and thought better of it. I go to the bagel counter and wait for two people to finish their orders, which surprisingly takes about five minutes, as someone seemed perplexed by the task of ordering 13 bagels. I reach the front of the line, get two everything bagels in about 4 seconds and head out.
The bagels were good and this filled me with a sadness that I need to drive ten minutes to get a decent bagel. Later, as the first bagel was used immediately, I decided to make a sandwich out of the second bagel. And as I take the knife to the bagel, I am shocked that it is already dried out. It's bread...yet, has a shelf life of less than six hours. Despite knowing this, it always bothers me about the bagel. You should be the best bread there is, yet you have the same lifespan as a fruit fly.
So, today, there were no bagels, because I'm not driving that far for bagels every day, as even I have some standards about how long food should last.