I try not to talk about bagels with friends. Talking about them always starts innocently, a little witty banter about the crust, crumb, and color traits and past eating experiences: “that bagel I had in New York that one time,” or “there was this one bagel shop down the street…” This jovial chat slowly evolves into a friendly argument about more-sweet versus more-savory and crunchy versus soft, maybe one even goes so far as mentioning steaming the bagel instead of baking it1. Finally, the once innocuous chatter results in the participants either forming a stronger friendship over common bagel zealotry or the unfortunate end to the friendship altogether. It’s kind of like the old axiom: never play Risk with a friend you want to keep. Exaggeration? Perhaps. But bagels do seem to rouse an enthusiasm rarely seen with other food (I’d argue pizza might be a solid contender, though). They carry with them a different meaning depending on where you’ve grown up, what local shops were in the area, and ultimately, where your preferences lie. But these sourdough bagels seem to transcend almost every bagel I’ve had, especially the mass-produced ones–oh yes, definitely those.