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Bagel Thoughts


Dryden
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Busboy's notes about his food trip around New York, and his question regarding bagel toasting, got me thinking. Over the years, I have gotten into many a heated discussion with New Yorkers and non-New Yorkers alike over what is inappropriate to do to a bagel.

As one who was born and raised in NYC, 13 blocks south of H&H and Zabar's, it has always been incomprehensible to me to cut a bagel in half vertically. To do so is to treat it like any other form of sandwich bread, which I categorically believe it is not.

What do other folks think of this? Am I the only bagel purist left in the world?

I want pancakes! God, do you people understand every language except English? Yo quiero pancakes! Donnez moi pancakes! Click click bloody click pancakes!

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I was raised in *upstate* NY, which many NYCers consider to be the Midwest, and even I know not to cut a bagel in half vertically!

At my local Safeway they carry the most bizarre flavors of bagels, like energy bar and apple crisp, yet they do not have poppyseed. That's California for you.

allison

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The only acceptable flavors for bagels are: plain, onion, sesame, poppy, garlic, salt, everything, pumpernickle and cinnamon raisin. Anything else, particularly fruit is sacrelige.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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The only acceptable flavors for bagels are: plain, onion, sesame, poppy, garlic, salt, everything, pumpernickle and cinnamon raisin. Anything else, particularly fruit is sacrelige.

What about egg?

True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

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I don't think of egg as a flavor. Rather, it's a different dough. Which means it messes with tradition. Therefore it's verboten

Bloviatrix, the bagel nazi :laugh:

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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As one who was born and raised in NYC, 13 blocks south of H&H and Zabar's, it has always been incomprehensible to me to cut a bagel in half vertically. To do so is to treat it like any other form of sandwich bread, which I categorically believe it is not.

What do other folks think of this? Am I the only bagel purist left in the world?

No. I've never even thought of the idea of cutting a bagel vertically. My reaction is "What's the point?" Why would anyone go and do a thing like that?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I've never even thought of the idea of cutting a bagel vertically. My reaction is "What's the point?" Why would anyone go and do a thing like that?

Alternate lifestyle? Shouldn't we be politically correct and cheer this person on for being "left brained, highly original, creative, innovative"? :hmmm:

Or is that simply one of those bagel perverts who have evil intentions?? :laugh:

My husband still cuts his baked potato vertically, leaving no surface area for all the cool toppings ... eccch ... :sad:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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You know, I'd never seen a bagel cut vertically until I moved here. I have to say I like it. Makes for more manageable pieces. Ruth Reichl said she liked it some issue of Gourmet, and what's good enough for Ruth...

It's funny, I live near frustration personified: Bagel Express makes the absolute best bagels I've had. Their texture is perfect, their flavor is sublime. They are everything a bagel should be. And the guys who work there are the absolute worst sandwich makers in the business. They ignore people when they come in, there will be five guys behind the counter and the line still grows even on a slow day. They only seem to be able to make one sandwich at a time and they don't even seem to be able to cut a bagel down the middle.

I hate myself for going in there, but I just can't help it.

over what is inappropriate to do to a bagel.

I can think of one thing, but I've never been quite that desperate.

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Let me correct myself. Yes, I've seen people cut bagels vertically - I've even done it myself - but only for the purpose of eating part of a bagel. To make a sandwich with any topping, it's necessary to cut the bagel - or whatever portion of a bagel you're eating - horizontally. On that, I won't budge, and for that purpose, a vertical cut is pretty damn useless.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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for me, blueberry is the wrongest wrong.

My BIL, who now lives in LA, likes these things. Yet one more reason why I dislike him. :shock:

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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for me, blueberry is the wrongest wrong.

My BIL, who now lives in LA, likes these things. Yet one more reason why I dislike him. :shock:

hernandez and hernandez bagels, on broadway and 78th, has had blueberry bagels for at least the past ten years.. whole wheat too..

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Yes, blueberry is completely unacceptable, but....I don't approve of cinnamon-raisin, either. That's dessert. Anything remotely sweet (fruit, chocolate chips, honey) is verboten.

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If you're going to be a bagel purist-traditionalist-nazi, you've got to be a lot more restrictive in your outlook than anybody on this thread. One issue is that none of the popular bagel places makes an acceptable bagel by traditional standards: they're too large, not dense enough, undercooked, and don't have the proper combination of flavors from the malt-dough mixture and the boiling liquid. Toppings would be limited, I believe, to poppy, sesame, or none. There would be no such thing as a bagel equivalent of a deli sandwich -- only traditional "appetizing"-type sandwiches (nova, cream cheese, etc.) would be acceptable.

I've always suspected that the no-toasting rule is more a matter of laziness than of principle, though it is always disguised as principle. But really, what's wrong with toasting a bagel or, even better, splitting and buttering it and throwing it butter-side-down on a griddle? That's just delicious. I could see maybe an objection to toasting an old-style jawbreaker-type bagel because the texture is such a precise thing, but these relatively fluffy monster-bagels we get nowadays are usually improved by toasting.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Toppings would be limited, I believe, to poppy, sesame, or none.

I remember some being topped with what resembled rock salt. I really liked those.

This was in the early 60's, Lydig Ave and White Plains Road, in the Pelham Parkway section of the Bronx, what was then a Jewish enclave.

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Splitting, buttering, and throwing it butter-side-down on a griddle? A griddle? Griddles are for southerners. :wink:

Bagels never fit in toasters. Once upon a time, that was all we New Yorkers had. This is pre-toaster oven. Toasting a bagel was a good way to burn your house down.

Don't even get me started on blueberry bagels. First time I saw one, I thought it was some kind of joke. I still do.

Bagels were always bought by the dozen and then brought home to eat. You went to the bagel store for the bagels (plain, poppy, sesame, salt, period.)* Then you went to the appetizing store and bought lox, cream cheese, maybe some herring as a side dish (NOT to put on the bagel, God forbid.) When did bagels become something that was totally prepared for you in a sandwich store? That's relatively new. Or now you can try to guess how old I am. :wink: Maybe that's why bagels became so puffy and soft, because suddenly people wanted to turn them into sandwich bread equivalents. Sigh. Who is responsible for this? :angry::biggrin:

*edited to add onion and garlic.

Edited by cakewalk (log)
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I've always thought that mini-bagels were kind of silly. They end up with no soft bread in the middle and virtually no hole. However, I'd welcome a bite-size bagel that I could pop in my mouth. I always end up pulling apart my bagels into bite-size pieces anyway.

I blame Bob McAllister and Wonderama for foisting these abominations, generally from Lender's on us.

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Then you went to the appetizing store and bought lox, cream cheese, maybe some herring as a side dish (NOT to put on the bagel, God forbid.)

This brings up the issue of cream cheese and what is verboten. Plain and scallion/onion seem to me the only acceptable ones. Smoked salmon/lox bits? C'mon, buy the sliced Nova. Honey-Walnut? Is this a danish?

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The only acceptable flavors for bagels are: plain, onion, sesame, poppy, garlic, salt, everything, pumpernickle and cinnamon raisin. Anything else, particularly fruit is sacrelige.

I must agree with all but cinnamon raisin. That is, if we're having an official poll here. :smile:

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Wow this thread is making me hungry for a prepared, toasted cinnamon-raisin bagel with cream cheese, cut vertically into quarters.

Yum.

�As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy, and to make plans.� - Ernest Hemingway, in �A Moveable Feast�

Brooklyn, NY, USA

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for me, blueberry is the wrongest wrong.

...and green ones for st. patrick's day. :shock:

I had a friend, from New York, who maintained that blueberry bagels were anti-semitic, possibly more repellent than ham.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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