Jerry Coyne wrote a series of posts last week that got my mouth watering for good old Lower East Side home cookin’. Evidently, we share a pathological love of bagels and other delicacies of Jewish delicatessen: the bialy, the pickle barrel, pastrami and endless varieties of smoked fish. Smoked salmon – or lox, from the Yiddish lox– is perhaps my favorite foodstuff ever invented, besides spaghetti. (And no, spaghetti-and-lox is not a good idea; don’t even bother.)
Italy, a country as famous for its food as it is for its museums (and rotten politicians), has a disturbing lack of bagels. Rome has an American-style hot dog stand, burritos, falafel and Tex-Mex diners, but IT HAS NO BAGELS. This is odd because almost every American I meet who has lived or spent some significant time in Italy has lamented the absence of bagels and expressed the concomitant wish that someone would open up a bagel shop.
Anyone out there planning a trip to Italy, be forewarned: you will get sick of pizza before the week is through. Ethnic food is second-rate and expensive. Pack a dozen or so bagels for your trip; we’ll supply the lox. Buon viaggio!