A new amigo’s joined over at my bagelerie. As bagels go, my place makes some of the best and finest bagels in Noo-Yawk city. It’s a sunday ritual for me – i wake up all bright-eyed and head over for breakfast. Now, if it’s a normal sunday, steve-o behind the counter knows what I want, so as I a make a light and sweet coffee for myself, he slices a freshly made bagel down the middle and chucks it into the giant brick oven, till it gets a hard crust, which he then proceeds to slather in butter, roll up and hand over to me. A dollar for a bagel and a coffee. Brooklyn is cheap that way.
But today, something felt wrong the moment I picked up my ‘package’ and left the store. As I unrolled the butter-paper on the way back home, I realised that the bagel was soft. It had merely been warmed up in the microwave, as opposed to having been toasted. And as i, bracing myself for the soft squishiness that is a microwave warmed bagel, dug my teeth into it, I had the shock of my life. The new guy had, instead of using butter, smothered my bagel with a huge blob of *margarine*.
As fas as all things edible go, margarine is an abomination. It is a shitty, greasy, disgustingly squishy gloop that is fit only to make soap – and having worked in a soap-factory once upon a time, I know *exactly how*. An ersatz form of butter invented during one of the wars when the real stuff was in short supply, and food had to be rationed, margarine is one of those sad things (like marmite) that has just refused to go away, collectively hijacking our minds in some weird inanimate version of stockholm syndrome to the point where there are people who actually believe that margarine is good for you. And especially despicable are those forms of margarine (yeah, they go under other names like “vegetable spread”), that claim to be healthier than butter owing to their lower cholesterol/fat content.
If there is a hell, I imagine it is full of stale bagels, bowls of margarine, and only microwave ovens to warm them.