Friday, April 2, 2010

From the Kitchen: Bagels in the Basement

Today is Good Friday. A day of fasting and abstinence from eating meat for all Roman Catholics between the ages of 18 and 60... so it feels a little wrong to be blogging about food. But it is amazing how much you think about food when you can only eat one regular-sized meal in the day.

Since we don't have an "upper room", traditionally, my family ate our last Lenten Friday meal in the basement, hiding like the disciples did on the day Jesus died. As children we loved it, and I just had to keep that tradition with my own kids. The dinner always consisted of finger foods... the unchanging essentials were dyed hardboiled Easter eggs, bagels, cheese, and fruit. Sometimes there was yogurt.

This year I decided to make my own bagels, inspired by my older sister who recently swore it was, in fact, possible to make delicious bagels in your own home. I tried not too long ago and successfully made bagels, albeit gummy and undercooked ones. This time, however, they turned out just right.

There are so so so many recipes for bagels out there, and I'm sure you could spend an eternity trying to find "the perfect recipe". In my humble opinion, the perfect recipe must be moist on the inside and crispy just on the outside and very flavorful. The recipe I used came from this glorious book, and I'd recommend it highly. Actual dough aside, the basics of bagel making are the same... make dough, shape it, boil it, dry it, bake it, eat it. That last part is my favorite, though the whole process is quite satisfying!

This year was a little departure from our usual basement dining routine, however. Early Easter this year means we're just getting into the warmer weather in Michigan, and it was so unexpectedly lovely outside that we just couldn't eat inside. We thoroughly enjoyed our simple dinner with some great friends, and I fully expect to keep making bagels for our Good Friday meal in the future, and many times in between!


noƫlle {simmer down!} said...

Those bagels are making me hungry...

I was raised Catholic as well but we never ate on another floor of the house, in fact this is the first time I've heard of that tradition. Sounds like I was missing out! :)

Anonymous said...

I remember making pretzels as a kid with my mother but don't remember if we ever made bagels. Perhaps it's time for the kids and I to try both.