Those noshing gnus

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!

2 thoughts on “Those noshing gnus

  1. Very true and very funny. Thanks for your recent comment…nice to discover your blog. I spend way too much time thinking about the foods I miss. You are lucky at least to be in Rome where there has got to be more variety than what we have here in Sicily. I think you could make some big bucks by opening a bagel shop! I keep hoping/wishing I will one day stumble upon a Thai or Indian place, but no luck so far…haven’t even let myself consider the possibility of bagels.

    1. Lucia: Rumor has it there is a woman who will deliver “real NY bagels” to your door in Rome, but I haven’t met her yet. We have vast ethnic possibilities by Italian standards, which is still sub-par by American or probably even Swiss standards. I have family in Sicily and have spent some time there, and I’d be shocked to know there was anything other than a sole Chinese restaurant on the whole island. And three Jewish families. That’s roughing it!

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