Dan Bilefsky, my colleague who is based in his hometown, Montreal, looked into a existential threat that has united, sort of, two of the city’s greatest rivals: Fairmount Bagel and St-Viateur Bagel.

The threat is the prospect that the city might ban the wood-burning ovens that are a key component of what makes Montreal bagels, at least to their proponents, the world champions of bagels. Those of you who are unfamiliar with Montreal bagels can learn about what distinguishes them from other bagels, the St-Viateur-Fairmount rivalry and the debate over which shop’s doughy circles are the finest by reading Dan’s entertaining story.

[Read: A Montreal Bagel War Unites Rival Kings]

But I have to share one quotation from the article to give you a sense of the limits of the current collaboration between the shops:

“His bagels went to the moon, yeah, sure,” the owner of St-Viateur said of his competitor’s shop. “But the oldest? Give me one iota of proof!”

Montreal bagels are just one of many foods associated with a city, province or region. Of course, Montreal and Quebec can also add smoked meat, steamies, sugar pie and poutine to their lists.

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