The date is 2058 – the year the history annals will know as the Great Bagel Famine. In this year widespread grain shortages, striking artisan bakers, and growing intolerance in the general population lead to a vast drop in bagel production. The industry is truly disrupted, with magical dough rings and lox-caper vehicles disappearing off the shelves of the ever dwindling number of gourmet NYC delis. Clean water increasingly cannot be spared for the luxury of boiling non-vital foodstuffs. Diners turn to alternative crackers and breads made from nuts and scarce starches, when they can be gotten.
To 8-year old Abigail, the bagel famine is a travesty. She has grown up listening to the stories of her grandmother, who came of age during the golden ’90s – a time of largesse, when bagels abounded and NYC delis enjoyed preeminence as street corner landmarks throughout the city. Abigail remembers her grandmother’s story of the first time she tried a bagel with salty, smoked lox and fresh cream cheese. It was still the best thing she’d ever eaten, Gran would say. Abigail plans to run away to the city the first chance she gets, go up to one of those deli counters and order the exact same bagel sandwich from a gruff NYC deli man with a beard. She’s run the scenario over in her mind a hundred times.
But now, it is not to be. The reporters make the announcement over live eye-cam, heralding the end of the bagel era, with strict new quotas and penalties on anyone who violates their allowed ration – one bagel a decade. Abigail bursts into tears upon hearing the news. It’s bad enough that she has to live in an energy-efficient pod in the center of Connecticut when she wants to live in a farmhouse in the countryside or a flat in the West Village; now her chances of realizing her very first dream are shattered too.
Abigail lies on her bed for awhile, moping. Frustration gets the better of her, and she makes her way into the tiny, space-conserving kitchen. There, she takes out every single pantry item, staring at them for a good minute. She is sure the solution lies hidden in the ingredients before her – it has to, because that is their entire food allotment for the month, unless she tries to procure it on the dark web – no easy task for an 8-year old.
Abigail quickly downloads every single report and recipe she can find on bagels – many of which she already possesses in her data file, having obsessed over the topic for some time. She reviews them quickly, researches the alternatives, and sets about experimenting. By the time her parents come home, the kitchen is a Jackson Pollock mosaic of spilt flour and spattered water, the 250 square foot apartment toasty from the oven – but there, sitting on the table, are four spherical rings, crusty brown on the outside, stretchy, with an open crumb.
Abigail looks from the bagels to her parents and smiles at them. They smile back.
“Now, if we only had some cream cheese,” says Dad.
Abigail quickly downloads all of her cream cheese files.
“Leave it to me, Dad,” she says. “I’m on it.”
[Click here for the sequel, Abigail Scours the Dark Web for Fish, & Cream Cheese Alternatives]
- 1 c Otto's cassava flour
- ¾ c tigernut flour (I've used both Govinda's and Gemini's, Govinda's yields a better texture/requires closer to 1 c water)
- ½ c tapioca flour or arrowroot starch (optional)
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ⅔ tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tb grassfed gelatin
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tb olive oil
- ~1-1.5 cups water
- 2 tsps apple cider vinegar
- ½ c Otto's cassava flour
- 1 c boiled cassava
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tb olive oil
- 2 tsps ACV
- 1 pot of boiling water (w/ 2 tsps salt added)
- optional toppings: dried onion/garlic, poppy/sesame seeds (non-AIP/re-intro)
- alternative 'cream cheese'
- For the full recipe, check out Best of Flash Fiction Kitchen, available here.
This post has been shared on Phoenix Helix’s Paleo-AIP Roundtable.