The figurative language of Tejal Rao….

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I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about such writing from Tejal Rao…

I have been a bagel fan since 1980. That year, I made a trip to visit a friend in the East, and we stood in line at 2 am (yes, there was a line-up at 2 am) for a Montreal-style bagel at the St-Viateur Bagel Shop.

The sweet and yeasty deliciousness of the wood-fired bagel, coated in a layer of crisp sesame seeds turned me into a bagel zealot who refuses to eat the packaged and second-rate concoctions from grocery stores.

I’m not a Montreal-style-or-die zealot, however, and have plenty of room in my heart for New York style bagels as well. Perhaps that’s why a recent New York Times headline caught my eye.

Written by Tejal Rao, and running under the headline “The Best Bagels Are in California (Sorry, New York),” the piece described a recent West Coast bagel boom.

Rao is the California restaurant critic at The New York Times, based in Los Angeles. She has won two James Beard Foundation awards for her restaurant criticism.

In her recent post, she displayed her flair for figurative language. Here are my favourite examples:

  • The bagels at Boichik Bagelshave the look of Labrador puppies curled up for afternoon naps: soft and pudgy, golden roly-polys.
  • The bread has a comforting squish — thick but yielding, chewy but not densely so, with a shiny, sweet-and-salty crust and a rich, malty breath that fills up the bag before you even get home.
  • Arielle Skye, 29, started selling small batches of delicious, aggressively crusty bagels on her bicycle.
  • She moved her business to South Central Los Angeles, where Ms. Skye and Mr. Moss drive every Friday so they can stock her pan dulce in the case at Courage Bagels — a bittersweet relic of the block’s identity, before a gentrifying pattern of rising rents, evictions and shifting tastes.
  • In her memory, the H & H bagel was the ideal New York-style bagel. It had a distinct sweetness and a malty perfume.


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