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Murray Lender’s Story: Innovation Takes A So-So Ethnic Bread Product To National Success

March 27, 2012: 12:00 AM EST
Murray Lender’s major innovation in bagel baking – slicing, freezing and shipping nationally – was kept a secret for two years in his native New Haven, Conn., Jewish community “until an accidental delivery of frozen bagels exposed them.” Though the jig was up, Lender, who died in March, was onto a good thing: a way to smooth out the peaks and valleys of bagel demand (and supply) while putting his product – albeit a mediocre one – on the shelves of American supermarkets. As food writer Matthew Yglesias notes, it was only a matter of time before new customers discovered the convenience of frozen bagels “and the bagel became a nationally available foodstuff.” Unfortunately, he says, the bagels available so conveniently in supermarkets are “much too big and lacking the textural contrast produced by poaching the dough before baking.”
Matthew Yglesias, "Lender’s Bagels and the Power of Mediocrity", Slate, March 27, 2012, © The Slate Group, LLC
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