In those days, I ate bialies the way you would eat a soft pretzel, whole, one bite at a time. However, when I recently ordered a shipment -- half onion, half garlic -- from Kossar's in New York (they offer online ordering), my inclination was to do what most people do these days, slice them and toast them as they would an English muffin.
Mimi Sheraton says this is inauthentic, but since bialies are now unknown in their homeland and fading fast in this country, their authenticity is, to say the least, in flux. Let's face it: anyone who eats bialies at all, however they go about it, is doing bialies a BIG favor. They aren't going to complain.
Visitors to this site, however, are a different matter. After viewing my breakfast entry on chopped chicken liver, Richard Waller e-mailed this message to me from Chicago:
just saw the chopped liver idea it works but i'd suggest not slicing the bialy...just sort of flatten it a bit with your palm and cut a few slits on the top to absorb the butter, cream cheese, chopped liver or whatever....i find that sliced the top has no real purpose....i think that's what they did in bialystock.
Clearly Richard has been reading mi).mi Sheraton, too. Chastened, but out of chicken liver, I fell back to plan B, or sort of. I've been in e-mail correspondence with another visitor, Barbara Cohen, about goat butter. This, I thought, would be ideal with bialies (authenticity, of course is another matter), but when I went to buy some, the store was out. So, I came home with fresh goat cheese instead. I heated the bialies (in this instance, poppyseed and garlic) in a 350-degree oven for ten mi).nutes, to bring back a bit of crustiness, and fell to.
My bialies looked as though the UPS driver had already courteously flattened them for me himself, so I didn't try that trick, and maybe that was the problem, but...I'm sorry to wimp out on you, Richard, but THEY'RE NOT NEARLY AS GOOD THIS WAY. Frankly, I think bialies came to America so that they would be toasted. Furthermore, I disagree with your assertion that "sliced, the top has no real purpose."
go to part three