What’s in a name? Part 1

During the pandemic my neighbor began experimenting with bagels. It started small and innocently enough. Soon creative varieties began arriving on our doorstep to sample and judge. And then they began giving bagels away. I remember sitting in the living room during worship on Sunday mornings watching the cars slowly roll by looking for the next house number to joyfully take their handmade bagels from the front stoop.

As time went by, the bagel making grew. The father and son duo, David and Caleb, rented space at a community kitchen and they expanded to selling in our town and the city where the son was in college. After college, they found a new community kitchen closer to home and invited my son to join them in rolling out dough on Thursday evenings. The second week I tagged along.

The energy in the community kitchen is as enticing as the odors wafting from every corner of this space as entrepreneurs experiment and create incredible concoctions. I learned to work the rising dough to form the shapes that would become delicious bagels.

When my son left our nest, I continued in the kitchen and, after nine months, expanded the joy of bagel making to 2:00am baking sessions on Saturday mornings. Bagels were sold at a local farmer’s market – fresh and still warm from the oven. Bagel Joy had a pizza oven to toast these treats and began experimenting with handmade cream cheese to add to the delight of the customers.

People thought I was crazy getting up at this hour to make bagels, but I absolutely loved it. There’s something about stumbling into a kitchen where people are either ending their late night shift or beginning their early morning preparations. It reminds me of the Sunrise Service on Easter morning. Few people show up, but there’s something awe-inspiring about being with the few to watch the sun rise and welcome Christ in the resurrection.

As the dough is plopped into the boiling, malty water, I am a part of a team that takes four shifts to complete each delightful bite. And when the hot, wet dough is rolled in the seeded goodness of an everything bagel with a perfect hole in the middle, I can’t help but consider how carefully the Master Creator has molded each of us, God’s creations.

As smells of that holy goodness waft from the oven and tantalize the senses with rosemary and sea salt, sesame, and (my favorite) cinnamon raison I know that there will be a whole lot of people experiencing joy when these hit the market a few hours later.

I love working for Bagel Joy. I love being at market and sharing something that I had a hand in making with the customers. I love hearing their stories and sharing in their love of a well crafted bagel. I love being in community and relationship with each of them and with our team preparing the bagels for scrumptious consumption. I love being in conversation with people as we share our mutual love of bagels and community.

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