Everyone’s gotten into a tiff over Hamilton (a small Ontario town, I think Sheila Copps came from there) selling what they call a “Montreal-style bagel.” Problem is it’s not a Montreal-style bagel. It’s got an icing sugar coating, which Montreal bagels don’t have.
Seeing an opportunity to make themselves relevant to the world, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce has proposed a blind taste test so that we can tell which is the better bagel. The Gazette has accepted the challenge, confident that Montreal bagels will prevail.
There’s three problems with this:
- We’ve been through this before. A year ago, The Gazette and the Toronto National Post had a blind taste test of bagels by their staffers. Montreal won, and the Post ate crow. Why do we need to repeat this experiment with a lesser city?
- The entire point of the controversy was not, as in the Toronto case, that the other city claimed their bagels were better than ours. The problem is that they’re labelling something a “Montreal-style bagel” when it’s not. Call it a “Hamilton-style bagel” and the controversy is over. Everyone will accept its inferiority.
- How do you do a blind taste test for this? One is coated with sugar, the other is not. Even the most undeveloped tastebuds will quickly tell the difference and be able to detect which group the bagel belongs to. And if the Hamilton bagels are stripped of their sugar coating, then we forget the fact that the sugar icing is the point of the controversy in the first place.
- Bagels are meant to be served fresh. There’s simply no logical way to do blind taste tests of fresh bagels from two different cities simultaneously. The best they could do is set themselves up in Toronto or Kingston and have bagels rushed down on trains or planes. They’d still be a few hours old at that point. Of course, they’re not going to go that far for a friendly experiment like this, so either one set of bagels is going to be fresher than the other, or everyone is going to be eating stale bagels.
Why are we wasting the time of so many journalists repeating something we’ve already done, that has no journalistic value and above all doesn’t make any sense?
UPDATE: On Sunday, the paper prints this article, which is a cut-and-paste (typos and all) of this discussion forum, complete with thoughtless opinion from whoever had a minute of free time that day and wanted to rant.