Review: Bagels, Schmears, and a Nice Piece of Fish by Cathy Barrow


Thank you to Net Galley for providing a Kindle copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Interest

We’re a weird family. I’d guess cinnamon rolls or biscuits and gravy (or a trip to iHop) are the most popular Christmas breakfasts in very rural Southwestern Ohio, but we have everything bagels topped with smoked salmon, aka “lox,” cream cheese, capers, and red onion. It’s a mandatory part of Christmas just like the chocolate oranges and tuna fish for the cats. (WHERE do we buy this in very rural land? Kroger–we’re right outside the national HG and, if they are out, Jungle Jim’s at Eastgate carries it, but both run short at the holidays so someone else IS eating it or they don’t order very much–I suspect the latter.) I was looking at Net Galley while stressing with another shortage–the right cure of lox for our breakfast, when I saw this little cookbook and requested it.

The Story–or Contents

Wow! I was impressed. I could eat the pictures! Lox, herring (a childhood favorite of mine was herring in sour cream–yes, I was odd. My cousin got so sick one night from eating too much pickled herring she still can’t get near it and that was in 1971). The various cheese spreads are all delicious-sounding, though being almost in the South here (at least people are in culinary terms) Pimento cheese on a bagel might raise a few local eyebrows no matter how delicious it might be. Smoked whitefish salad? Bring it! Smoked trout spread? Yes, please. On and on with the foodie goodness of this little book. And the sandwiches? Huge piles of goodness between the two halves of the bagel. Forget going to a New York deli–enjoy them at home because this book lets you develop a bagel bakery AND deli in your own home.  But bacon on a bagel…..holy culture clash! Never mind, I know it will be delicious! Also covered are pickling your own lox or veggies and assembling a lovely bagel platters for guests on special occasions

In addition to the food, we also learn the story of the author’s family and of why she came to make her own bagels. It was an enjoyable little read.

My Thoughts

This one is a keeper! I will definitely be trying a few things–the Smoked Whitefish salad first up, I imagine, if I can get the fish.

One minor complaint, which may be related to the pre-publication status of the book was the index and some of the phots, were a mess. That’s a shame, but probably does not carry over into the published volume. And, it does not, however, keep you from enjoying all the great eating this book will inspire. You can read more at the author’s blog,

My Verdict

4 big bagels!

Bagels, Schmears, and a Nice Piece of Fish by Cathy Barrow is available for pre-order now to be delivered on March 15. 2022.

9 thoughts on “Review: Bagels, Schmears, and a Nice Piece of Fish by Cathy Barrow

  1. Well, well, well! This sounds like fun, but… being Jewish, I’m guessing that smoked whitefish salad is much like the one my aunt use to make, and the smoked trout spread like one my in-laws used to do! Strangely enough, living in Israel, finding a really good bagel is NOT as easy as you’d think. (Some day, I’m going to try making my own!)


  2. I think I enjoy your personal reminiscences as much as the book review 🙂 I often find kindle versions of books have some issues — both the finished versions, and more often, the netgalley versions …

    Liked by 1 person

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