Writer and ex-New York Times food critic Mimi Sheraton stirred up fuss on Twitter Thursday night after sharply denouncing Montreal-style bagels, complaining that they’re too thin, and with “so many seeds atop it’s like chewing glass”.
The criticism seemed to be a knock-on effect after it was discovered that now-defeated candidate for New York governor Cynthia Nixon enjoys eating cinnamon-raisin bagels topped with lox (specifically, from Upper West Side store Zabar’s). That prompted a column in the New Yorker from writer and one-time Montrealer Adam Gopnik, where he perhaps sidetracked a little to comment that Zabar’s doesn’t even sell real bagels, and the true bagel is a wood-fired Montreal one (assumedly from Fairmount or St-Viateur).
Then Sheraton jumped in, and she squeezed an impressive quantity of criticism into one tweet, deeming the Montreal version to be at best a “bagelizze” (presumably some kind of smaller and bagel-adjacent bread product).
Sorry Adam Gopnik. Your native Canadian Montreal bagels are not bagels any more than Cynthia's cinnamon-raisin choice. At most maybe call bagelizzes. I have tried from all famous sources up there. Too thin, sweet not salty, so many seeds atop it's like chewing broken glass.— Mimi Sheraton (@mimisheraton) September 12, 2018
And surprise: some people thought that was harsh, to say the least. Critic Lesley Chesterman seemed to lead the charge, calling it offensive.
This is not only ridiculous but offensive to the people who make our great Montreal bagels to compare them to broken glass. Lost all respect for you Ms Sheraton tonight. You should know better. AND you should apologize. @mimisheraton https://t.co/mRn9yxRhP4— Lesley Chesterman (@lesleychestrman) September 14, 2018
But plenty of others jumped on, suggesting that either Sheraton had not tried Montreal bagels, or was sorely mistaken.
Nope, Montréal's are the best, not the fluffy type of rolled bread dough you find in Tim Horton’s or mainstream places. You’re wrong in all levels.— Richer (@RicherFortin) September 13, 2018
Reading this has made me wary of anything you’d have to say on any subject. This is not a critique this is bias.— B.B. (@messybedroom) September 14, 2018
Obviously, the New York versus Montreal bagel rivalry is nothing new, although for many, the reasonable (and perhaps more polite) conclusion is that bready New York dough pucks are a different beast to the sweeter, thinner, and denser Montreal version — therefore comparing the two isn’t a very fruitful activity.
It’s worth noting that Montreal bagels have been slowly networking their way across the USA and winning fans, with copies of it beginning to appear in a range of bakeries across the country. But there’s some extra validation for any Montrealers feeling the sting — some of the people defending our bagel were Americans, and even New Yorkers.
I'm from NY but live in Montreal since many yrs. Bagels in Mtl are better. In general, NY bagels are too thick and doughy (but good bagels (more Mtl type) on Arthur Ave in the Bronx). Reverse with pizza. In general, pizza is better in NY but you can get good pizza in Mtl.— ellen buschman (@balearstar) September 14, 2018