March 24, 2010 § 8 Comments

Poppy seed bagel. Photo by Pooja Kishnani.

Not having grown up in America, I never really knew about bagels.  My very first one was in upstate New York in 2001, during the summer I’d turned seventeen.  My mother was depositing me at a college program for high school students at Ithaca College, and we had breakfast at a friendly little cafe whose name I don’t remember, reveling in the fact that one could have one’s meal outdoors on the sidewalk.  One of us ordered a bagel with bacon, egg and cheese, named at this cafe after a lady: The Allison.  It was your perfectly dependable, greasy, delicious breakfast bagel sandwich, with thick runny yolk and slightly tangy, orange cheddar cheese — a specialty, though I did not know at the time, of upstate New York.  And though afterwards, we did and do recall The Allison with fondness, we didn’t realize the part of the actual bagel in our bafflingly amazing, locally-sourced, homemade, probably organic breakfast.

In 2002, I moved to college in Boston, and in 2003, I moved off-campus to live with in Brookline/Brighton.  I didn’t grasp the momentousness at the time, but I had the distinct, never-to-be-repeated privilege of living a pajama-wearing-walk distance from a Whole Foods.  No longer in the social bustle of campus and no longer especially close to my roommates, I would wake up, feeling terribly lonely and very zen at the same time, and in an effort to pass the morning, go in my light blue and navy plaid pajamas to Whole Foods, and feel greedy looking at their display of baked goods, particularly the bin after glass bin of golden Iggy’s Bagels, with the light practically glinting off their sesame seeds–looking not at all like the garbage bags full of day-old bagels and donuts from Dunkin Donuts we had been eating on Freshman year film shoots.  It was an unprecedented revolution for me, this business of going to a grocery store for nothing but a coffee and a bagel, to bring it back home, eat it quietly over the morning paper, and feel satisfied.  Perhaps not coincidentally, it was at this point I became aware of wanting to write poems, though I was a film major at the time.

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