I said that to myself every morning the first time I visited my in-laws in Kansas. My husband, who after 4 years of living in New Jersey finally understands what I mean when I say “bagel,” had suggested to his mother that she didn’t have to buy bagels for the Jersey girl. That really, I would be perfectly happy with bread. Even plain old white bread. But my mother-in-law is as strong-willed as she is kind, so she bought me bagels at the grocery store. The kind that come pre-sliced and in plastic wrapping – the only kind there is at the average rural Kansas supermarket.
Which anyone raised in Jersey or New York will tell you isn’t a real bagel at all.
I ate them anyway, a smile pasted on my face. Meanwhile I thought snobby East Coast thoughts about bagels, pizza and art museums. I had lived in Kansas City for 9 years, but after moving back to NJ I forgot everything I had learned in the Midwest. And my husband would be quick to tell you that “the city” (as in Kansas City) was a far cry from the small rural communities my in-laws have lived in their entire lives. You can actually get a decent bagel in Kansas City, for example.
Anyway, visiting my in-laws for a week was tough for me. When we’d lived in KC, we’d visit for an afternoon and then return to what I called “civilization.” Flying out from NJ was a different ball game. There was no civilization. My in-laws do not have internet access. Or city water (this means that it is indeed possible to run out of water and wait until my father-in-law hauls some more from the well). They do have an extremely peaceful deck, though.
I was relieved when they came to visit us the next time. I planned a dinner out at a local barbecue joint because I knew they liked barbecue (it’s a requirement for being a Kansas native, I think). After dinner, my mother-in-law thanked us for dinner and chuckled about the “east coast” barbecue. “But, but, it’s supposed to be authentic Kansas City barbecue!” I sputtered. Not being a Kansas native, I don’t really know anything about barbecue. I just like how it smells. I looked at my husband.
He shook his head. New Jersey had failed on the barbecue front. And my mother-in-law had been honest enough to point it out while still being gracious about the dinner. Something I had to master before I was forced to eat any more Kansas bagels.
This is an original post for Jersey Moms Blog by Triplezmom, a.k.a JerseyGirl89.
Photo credit given to Always Hungry NY.