The Myth of the King and The History of the Frozen Bagel
Believe it or not, the history of the frozen bagel is something that’s highly debated. This is largely because in her book, The Bagel: The Surprising History of a Modest Bread, Maria Balinska pointed to a story regarding a Polish King. And for a very long time, this story was thought to be the “true” story of the history of the bagel.
The story goes that in 1496, a decree was placed throughout Poland that disallowed the production of a food called “obwarzanek,” which were rolls very similar to bagels. But after the Battle of Vienna in 1683, a new king ruled the land. That was King Jan Sobieski, who was the first king in almost 200 years to lift the banning of such bread production.
It’s thought by some that it was the Polish Jews that created a roll in the shape of a king’s stirrup to honor the king for allowing them to bake bread again. This roll is thought to have then been called a “beugel,” which over the years was translated to “bagel.”
This legend has actually been disputed and proven to be false, as bagels were seen in Poland well before that time, in 1610. But, it sure is a fun tale to pass around!