Dear Stuart,

As you know, the greatest things in life are not free. That’s because the greatest thing in life is a Montreal-style bagel. Since I can’t get Montreal bagels in Boston, I decided to make them. Here is a recount of my efforts.

Part 1: The Ingredients

6:42 p.m. – I go to the store to pick up the missing ingredients. First on list: sunflower oil. I scan the shelves. They have every other type of oil. Peanut, flax seed, canola. Why must the grocery store thwart my every move? I take revenge by picking up a bottle of ketchup and putting it back in the wrong spot. The guy stocking shelves beside me gives me a strange look. He can dish it out but he can’t take it.

6:58 p.m. – I have circled the store 18 times searching for something called “malt baking powder”. The store clerk tells me they don’t have it. I choose maple syrup, a reasonable Canadian substitute. I also complain loudly about the state of American grocery stores and about the ink stain that won’t come out of my pants. Yeah, I said what everyone was thinking.

7:03 p.m. – I am in the “International Foods” section and I’m not sure why.

7:14 p.m. – I have left the store and am walking home. I laugh out loud at the couple walking in front of me because they are wearing matching green pants. They turn around. Their glares frighten me. I play dead.

For those of you wondering what any of this has to do with making bagels, it doesn’t. But herein starts the actual bagel production, supplemented with figures.

Part 2: Making joy (ie bagels)

7: 38 p.m. – I whip out the recipe and start mixing together ingredients. My excitement dissipates as my mixture begins to resemble old cottage cheese. I am sad.

7: 47 p.m. – The recipe calls for 4 cups of flour to be mixed in 1/4 cup at a time. This is boring and my mind wanders. After a couple of minutes, I realize that I have no idea how much flour I’ve added. I feel scared and confused.

7: 53 p.m. – I’ve added so much flour that the dough has started to physically reject it. I’m now supposed to cover the dough with a towel and let it rise for 20 minutes. I decide to go for a run and let the dough rise for an hour instead. After all, if 20 minutes of dough rising makes 1 dozen bagels, 1 hour of dough rising will make infinite bagels!

Exhibit 1: pre-run dough

9:00 p.m. – I think about bagels for the entire run and as I unlock my front door, I brace myself for explosions of dough. I was not prepared for what I actually saw.

Exhibit 2: post-run dough

I am sad again.

The rest of the night was a series of successes (finding a dime under the table) and failures (everything that had to do with making bagels). Let me just expedite the story with a series of pictures and strange words.

BAM! Bagel form.

WAPOW! Boiling in honey water.

SHAZAM! Seeds all over the place.

ZING! Fresh bagels.

This story was significantly less entertaining than I hoped it would be. Here is a funny picture.