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….