A peace offering

Massachusetts Bagels

by Sydney Bender

Massachusetts Bagels

Elizabeth Cecil

Bagels cost $1.25 each or $12.95 for a baker’s dozen. Bagels with schmear and other bagel sandwiches cost somewhere in between.  

It’s no secret that there’s a rivalry between New York and Massachusetts. New Yorkers and Bay Staters pack arenas, ballparks, and stadiums to maximum capacity for their bitter sports rivalries; both states serve up very different varieties of clam chowder, each claiming it’s the best; and both East Coast hometowns have large populations of people with thick accents undeniably signaling their birthplace.

But what happens when one state takes something that isn’t famously hailing from their state, and makes it another reason for rivalry?

Take for example, bagels in Massachusetts.

Sean Ready, owner of the Edgartown Meat & Fish Market, sells freshly baked bagels at his family-owned Edgartown establishment. When he opened the market and café in the spring of 2011, he gave visitors and residents of Martha’s Vineyard a new place to buy meat, seafood, prepared foods, produce, wine, and baked goods.

Sean doesn’t care if customers wear Red Sox or Yankees hats while shopping around the market or if they enjoy Manhattan clam chowder more than New England clam chowder.

Flour, water, malt and yeast make a bagel. The key to making the perfect roll with a hole is the texture that comes from the care spent mixing and baking. “Making the dough is hard,” says Sean, “because the temperature is always changing.”

“Bagels should be chewy on the outside, soft on the inside. The art of the bagel: it can’t be too hard or too soft or too doughy.”

Sean sees the Market’s bagels not as another thing for the rivalrous states to compete about, but as a peace offering—something to make the out of staters feel more at home. Good bagels in New York are often found near the meat markets, and good bagels on Martha’s Vineyard are found in a similar place, inside of a meat market. It’s just a matter of getting them before they’re sold out.

“There are a lot of New Yorkers vacationing on the Vineyard,” says Sean, who adds that his market makes bagels from scratch because people everywhere “are really particular about their bagels.”

Bagels at the Market can be found in the café section, where sandwiches, scones, cookies and other baked goods are sold.

The Edgartown Meat & Fish Market is a place to savor a quick breakfast or lunch inside or outside at the café tables. Take a bagel to go and enjoy a cup of cawfee when you head to your car, or a cup of coffee when you head to your cah.

The Edgartown Meat & Fish Market is located at 240 Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, in the same plaza as the Edgartown Post Office. (508) 627-6200. Edgartownmeatandfish.com.