Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Mashugga Megillah of the Bialy

by numbsain

A beautiful thing, a real bialy is. It's like a bagel but without the hole in the middle. A good thing, that; If I'm shelling out my dough, Some schmuck taking dough out of the middle of my bagel, I don't need! What do they think, out of my tuchus there's money flying? I should be so lucky. To impress a lady, I would just moon her. God forbid I should be robbed by a homosexual pervert.

But as I was saying, No, instead of a hole, a little indent and some chopped onions and poppy seeds for an extra bonus they put in there. But the starter dough they use, is what makes a bialy "a bialy." And from my mouth to your ear, 150 years ago, in a little town in Poland called Bialystok, that starter dough was first created.

Just a little putz, my grandfather was, when one day, from the bakery he owned, his father came home and the most delicious bread rolls they ever ate, he had with him, a basketful of. To my grandfather, a little wad of dough, he handed and said:

"Menachem, dis dough, with yaw life you should guard. Ven you grow up, a bakery of your own, you vil have and oy, such a success it'll be, with starter dough so good as dis."

A bissel of dough, a teenage boy is supposed to care about?

Weeks and weeks, in his pocket the dough sat and, of course, all the time rising and when it got too big, with his fingers, my grandfather would smoush it down. To read an assignment in front of the class, he was asked by the teacher one day. Standing in front of the class, the bulge in his pants, one girl in the front noticed. Like a puppy dog after that, this young goyeh started following him around. Long story-short, married they ended up, and soon, to America they moved, all because of that dough. Enough gelt to buy a whole new wardrobe, they had, with parents like hers, so rich they were. But the pants wit the dough, he kept always and all the way across the ocean, In a suitcase, in the pocket of the pants, the dough kept rising. Nearly bursting out from the suitcase, the dough was by the time they arrived. "Oy! What is dis? In the garbage, that suitcase should be. A disgusting thing like that i need? Feh!"

So into the trash bin it went. Well, from working at his father's Chinese restaurant down the street, this young Chinese boy came walking along. "In the garbage, they throw pants so good as these?" the boy said in astonishment. Back to his mother, he brought them to be cleaned. "Mazel tov, bubeleh! A fortune we can make with this dough from the pocket of those pants." She told her son.

Now, a pretty good egg roll they made, sure. But a fortune?, not so much. Troubles like you wouldn't believe, the father was having and the Chinese restaurant... Feh, kaput it went after a year. To clean out the place, they came, the new owners did. And still there, in a pot, was the dough. So big it was getting by then, the owners daughter thought: "Such a waste. Food is food, better I should keep some." So in a little bag she put a smidgen and into the purse.

As luck would have it, sent by a nice man who owned a little bakery, a love letter was waiting when she got home. Who knew? She agreed to meet with him and on their date, still in her purse, the bag of dough was, so to him, she gave it. The best bagels in the world, he made with that dough, so good, a little hole, he didn't want to put, so "No hole!" he said. "Maybe just make a little dent and... I don't know, I could smoush some o' these onions in there, that's good." And that's the history of the bialy as we know it.