Spotted at Tartine (7217 Perrier Street, 504.866.4860):  bialys, short for bialystocker kuchen, the storied bagel-cousin beloved by many, but rarely seen in the U.S. outside of the urban Northeast.  Made from a bagel-like dough, the bialy isn’t boiled, and in place of a hole, a central depression is filled with onions, poppyseeds, and/or breadcrumbs.  Mimi Sheraton traced the bialy’s history back to its Polish Jewish origins in The Bialy Eaters, and she found that the bread is extinct in its home city, wiped out during the 20th century along with Bialystock’s once-vibrant Jewish population.

I’m thankful to live in a tolerant society, where Jewish pastries show up in French-inspired bakeries, eaten and enjoyed by people who’ve never been to Poland.  Happy Thanksgiving week….

7 thoughts on “Bialys

  1. I love bialys. There is a bagel place in Lafayette that puts out some awesome product. He came to one of our farmer’s markets then quite coming. I went into Lafayette to score some and talked with him. Next time I see him I will suggest bialys.

  2. Bialys…indeed a rarity in these parts. Do you know if Maple Patisserie makes them? The owner/baker is Polish and his challah is the best in the city. Thank you, Celeste.
    Incidentally, re Hamburger Co..was there and did not like it, seems to be one of those “trendy-snob appeal places”. My partner and I left hungry, after having miniscule hamburgers and a side order of fries which we could fit in our fisted hand. When the check came..what a shocker! No matter, they will do well? Why? Uptown location, “in” place. One should not leave a restaurant feeling hungry (we are both on the slender side). When I want a hamburger, I want a hamburger such as Phil’s grill. Frankly, I am not too impressed with any of the new eateries on Freret, having tried them all, Idon’t think we get a bang for our buck.

  3. I once heard a guy in a deli in DC describe bialys to a customer as “Jewish focaccia.” Not a bad explanation, but not one that would make sense to a lot of people. I’ll have to go try these.

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