Why Some New Yorkers Are Upset With The Great British Baking Show

Thrillist names it as one of The 50 New York Foods You Need to Eat Before You Die (Number 34) – and while it comes in many forms, the chocolate babka that made the list was good enough to spark a shoutout from the 90s classic TV show, Seinfeld- where, in The Dinner Party Episode, Seinfeld and Elaine decide to drop by the Royal Bakery to pick up a chocolate babka – the cinnamon-flavored bread "the lesser babka" (via My Jewish Learning). 

So with all these cultural references in mind, it may have been difficult for New Yorkers to understand how contestants of The Great British Bake Show - known in Britain as The Great British Bake Off (GBBO) – couldn't get their heads and their baking skills around to mastering the traditional loaf cake, which is made with nuts and chocolate before it is twisted and shaped into a loaf, baked, then brushed with syrup (via AV Club). But dyed-in-the-wool New Yorkers weren't upset by the bakers' lack of knowledge involving the bread – they were up in arms over Prue Leith's comment about Paul Hollywood's chocolate babka, of which she said: "I've had it in New York and it's not nearly as nice as this" (via Decider). 

New Yorkers say Prue Leith made the wrong call on chocolate babka

There are culinary historians theorize that the babka was born in Eastern Europe, specifically Ukraine, while others think the babka was actually first made in Italy, where it traveled East sometime during the 16th century, thanks to Poland's Queen Bona Sforza (via The Atlantic). And it may be true that babka was born somewhere else, like most culinary immigrants on Thrillist's list of New York's most memorable offers, the bread was adopted by the city's Jewish bakeries, which turned it into a pastry worthy of breakfast, brunch, dessert, or anything in between. As Serious Eats writer Niko Triantafillou puts it, "If you are new to the city and have no idea what we're talking about, take note: Eat some babka. It's one of the best sweets you'll find in New York."

Decider's Meghan O'Keefe also points out that Prue, Paul, and the GBBO gang have a habit of dissing New York's baking traditions – so we'd understand why New Yorkers aren't interested in Paul Hollywood's take on their famous pastry – and have every intention of sticking with the OG, thank you very much.