Food: The Bagel Takes to the Road

Mainstream America eats it up -- but has it lost authenticity?

Adieu, croissants! Adios, tacos! Make way for the ethnic sandwich vehicle of the moment. The bagel has gone mainstream. Dense and chewy, with a shiny golden brown crust and a center hole, this round Jewish-Eastern European roll has long been a breakfast favorite primarily in New York City and along the Atlantic seaboard. Now it is increasingly appearing on fast-food menus and in the freezers of supermarkets well beyond its ethnic boundaries. Two giant firms have moved into the frozen-bagel business in recent years: Kraft, which owns Lender's, the first and largest producer of frozen bagels, and Sara Lee, which has...

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