This is Highly Recommend, a column dedicated to what people in the food industry are obsessed with eating, drinking, and buying right now. Here, Ali Francis writes about the candle that fills the bagel-shaped hole in her heart. And for more on bagels, swing by the Great Bagel Boom, where we’re celebrating the vast expanses of bagel culture across America.

New York City Ali would have never bought a candle shaped like a sesame bagel. Nor any of the other slew of food-shaped flammables currently flooding my feeds. (Okay, maybe I could make space in my life for this cruciferous beauty.) But after leaving my Queens apartment in January for the fresh mountain air in Salt Lake City I’ve softened to kitsch and nostalgia. So when I was supposed to be shopping for rugs to absorb the echoes inside my empty new apartment, it was only natural that I instead added this speckled beige bagel candle to my cart.

Bagel Shaped Candle$24 $20 at Urban Outfitters

The paraffin wax sculpture arrived in a cute little paper bakery box with “Deli Fresh Bagel” scrawled in an old-world font. While it’s branded as a sesame, to me she’s everything—with her little black speckles of poppy seeds and chunks of minced dry garlic. The true-to-size caramel-colored orb is delightfully plump and round, one of those bagels that’s so puffed up that you can barely even register the hole in the middle. If that disturbs you purists, relax: The hole comes later, as you slowly burn a tunnel through the wax, which allegedly takes around 15 hours and ends up looking like a piece of conceptual art.

Of course, one can get good, even great, bagels outside of New York City. And to be honest, even during the almost eight years I lived in New York City, I didn’t eat that many bagels. (I grew up in Australia where Vegemite toast had a stronghold, okay?) But when I recall all the times I grasped onto a crunchy toasted everything loaded with scallion cream cheese and fat slices of tomato, it evokes uniquely New York memories. I ate them on dates with friends in Prospect Park, shoulder to shoulder with roommates while sitting on a Brooklyn fire escape during my first muggy summer in the city, and in my boyfriend’s mom’s kitchen on a cozy morning after Christmas. Whenever I miss those people and that place, lighting my silly little bagel candle plonks me right back in the middle of it all.

The buried lead here is the smell—or lack thereof. This candle is completely unscented and will not bless your home with eau de Brooklyn deli. For that you’ll need to buy an actual bagel. I’m not going to pretend this is an essential purchase, but it is a nice little salve for anyone with a New-York-bagel-shaped hole in their heart.

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