There are a whole lot of foods that I’m not sure are even worth the trouble of making at home, though I suspect this list varies by what you have accessible in your neighborhood. I feel fairly certain I won’t be making any falafel sandwiches in our new kitchen, especially now that I’ve discovered our proximity to the $2.50 perfection at Mamouns. I’m not even sure I’ll ever make pirogi again, after finding my fluffy, light pirogi nirvana this weekend at the Ukranian National Home. And in general, I’ve never seen a whole lot of purpose in making bagels from scratch in New York City — save a one-time baking frenzy — and certainly not when we lived less than two blocks from our bagel ideal, Murrays. (I’m a little lost for a decent bagel in the East Village — anyone? I think we’ve been spoiled.)
But all bets are off when you’re at a cattle ranch 90 minutes from the nearest city in Northeastern Oklahoma, where I’m pretty sure your best bet to land a decent handmade, water-boiled bagel is to tackle them in your own kitchen. Plus, when you’re visiting someone who had just recently discovered her fervent passion for bagels with cream cheese and lox, it is your New Yorker duty to come armed with fresh, delicious cream cheese and lox from Russ & Daughters. And so we did. But then we demanded she make her own bagels.