National Bagel Day: The Delicious History of a Beautiful Bread

Happy National Bagel Day! I don’t know about you, but I love me a good bagel. My usual go to is blueberry bagels with strawberry cream cheese or cinnamon raisin bagels with butter on them. I’ll eat them anywhere for anytime too. Breakfast, lunch, midnight snack. Carbs are my weakness and bagels fit right into that group.

So in honor of National Bagel Day, I decided to write about the history of the delicious fluffy bread. It’s quite interesting really and it goes back at least six centuries.

The exact origin and creation of the bagel is kind of obscure and still speculated to this day of there are lots of theories. At one point, people believed the bagel was created in 1683 as a tribute to Polish King Jan Sobieski for saving the city of Vienna. However, according to Maria Balinska in her book “The Bagel: The Surprising History of a Modest Bread” this is probably incorrect because there’s mentions of what sounds an awful lot like bagels being eaten dating back to 1610 in Krakow, Poland. (I really feel like the best foods, are the oldest.)

Now ring-shaped breads in general have always been around. You’ve got what’s called a obwarzanek, which is another kind of ring-shaped Polish-made bread (which honestly looks like a bagel to me, just not as thick, but I rest my case) that dates back to 1394. You’ve got Italian taralli, You’ve got Chinese girde naan. In my opinion, all of these look like various forms of bagels but whatever.

Bagels didn’t make their way to the United States until the 19th century, but they stayed in niche, Jewish markets for many years until the 1970s when people actually wanted to try new, authentic foods. From then on, we’ve never stopped eating the deliciously soft bread.

I think some guy just fluffed up the obwarzanek one day and called it bagel because his name was Biegel. Now that’s not to say that bagels didn’t pop up in like ancient Egypt or something but I’m trying to keep it short and finish the bagel that’s staring at me from my desk right now, so we’ll end it there.

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