Food & Drink

17 Crimes Against Bagels, From Slicing Like Bread To Other Misdemeanors

St. Louis-style bagels are far from the only questionable phenomenon.
So many crimes against bagels, so little time. 
So many crimes against bagels, so little time. 

People were sliced down the middle over a tweet Wednesday which called the act of cutting bagels into slices like a loaf a bread a “St. Louis secret.” We’ll spare you all the gory details, but suffice to say the words “felony,” “ashamed” and “crime” came into play.

This great bagel debate is hardly the first of its kind. It’s hardly even the first in a full year. But it got us here at HuffPost thinking about other “crimes” against the doughy, delicious globes of gluten.

Is toasting a fresh bagel a felony? Is messing with too much cream cheese a misdemeanor?

A very scientific poll of our newsroom narrowed down the worst possible bagel offenses out there. From there, we called on some very special experts, whose bagels rank among the best out there, to weigh in, too.

They are:

1. Slicing bagels like bread.

Jeff Zalaznick, co-owner of Major Food Group, which owns Sadelle’s in New York: Crime. Eli Zabar in New York City cuts them the other way, it’s called Tower of Bagel. That’s the version I enjoy eating.

Dianna Daoheung, executive chef at Black Seed Bagels in New York: No real opinion on that, except that I can see the appeal for parties or if you just want a taste. It’s like a bagel chip but not as crisp.

2. Sweet flavored cream cheese on a bagel.

Chris Pugliese, owner, operator and founder of Tompkins Square Bagels in New York: We’re known for that, so we’re all for it, we don’t judge. Some of the sweeter bagels go well with them, so I don’t think that’s a crime.

Zalaznick: Crime. But I love a good cream cheese and jelly or butter and jelly sandwich.

Daoheung: At Black Seed we don’t have any sweet bagels, so I’m all for it if you want to add anything sweet to the mix.

3. Cynthia Nixon’s cinnamon raisin with lox bagel order.

Pugliese: I’ve seen much worse. We see things that just blow my mind. Egg sandwiches with jelly. Saturday and Sunday morning a lot of our customers are hungover putting anything on there to sober up ― all grease and fat, bacon and sausage and eggs and home fries all on one bagel.

Zalaznick: That’s personal for me because when I first started dating my wife we went out and she put whitefish on a cinnamon raisin bagel and I thought that was the craziest thing I’d ever seen. So I’ve been living with this for a long time, it’s not as shocking to me.

Daoheung: As much hate as she got for this, I’ve seen way crazier sandwiches (like almond butter with salmon and onion). I think bagel shops should be welcoming for all tastes. I personally wouldn’t have done that, but I can see the appeal of sweet and savory.

4. Rainbow bagels.

Pugliese: We don’t do rainbow bagels. I guess everyone has to draw the line somewhere ― we try to keep the bagels themselves traditional.

Zalaznick: Horrible crime.

Daoheung: You will never see one at Black Seed as long as I’m running it. I appreciate the craftsmanship behind the idea, but not for Black Seed.

5. Toasting a fresh bagel.

Pugliese: Worst, worst crime of all the crimes, like send out the special force unit, the goon squad, to carry you away. When you toast a hot bagel that just came out of the oven at 550 degrees you’re basically cooking it twice so when you bite into it, you’re biting into a brick.

Zalaznick: No problem.

Daoheung: If they are still warm out of the oven, then no. There is nothing better than a straight out of the oven bagel.

6. Not toasting a bagel.

Pugliese: I get that people want their bagel hot and crunchy and if it’s not, I totally get it.

Zalaznick: No problem, not a crime. That’s a valid personal preference.

7. Whole wheat bagels.

Pugliese: I think they’re great.

Zalaznick: I guess ... misdemeanor.

8. Scooping out a bagel.

Pugliese: I get why people do it but sometimes it drives me a little crazy [Laughs]. It’s the best part, it’s what makes the bagel. If you don’t like the doughy inside you should go get a piece of bread or a roll.

Zalaznick: Crime.

Daoheung: We don’t scoop our bagels as they’re not your typical oversized NYC bagels. But I do see the appeal if you’re getting a huge bagel.

9. Frozen bagels.

Pugliese: That’s a crime. Yeah, that’s a crime.

Zalaznick: Unfortunate.

10. Starbucks / Dunkin’ Donuts bagels.

Pugliese: If I had a dollar for every person who came in with a cup of Starbuck or Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and I always joke with them and say, “You just couldn’t do that bagel, could you?” That’s how bad they are. Almost as equal a crime as toasting.

Zalaznick: Never had one so I can’t comment. They could be good! I don’t know.

Daoheung: I have honestly never had one in my life.

11. Flagels.

Pugliese: I mean, it’s just smushed. It’s no more or less dough. I think people sometimes think they’re eating less calories but they’re just pushed down. Misdemeanor.

Zalaznick: I actually like them but only from one place ― Goldberg’s in the Hamptons.

Daoheung: I love flagels! They remind me of going to Montauk and the beach.

12. A very thin layer of cream cheese or a very thick layer of cream cheese.

Pugliese: That’s actually a tough one ― as an owner we get smacked once in a while on Yelp for not enough or too much or “that’s a disgusting amount.” We have a hard time making people happy but I think it should be a lot, we don’t want to cheat anyone. Personally I’m on the very little side, though.

Zalaznick: It’s a matter of personal preference, but I personally dislike too much. It’s just like you can’t eat it, it gets all over the place.

Daoheung: Overall I think there needs to be the right balance. If you can’t taste the cream cheese it’s not enough, but I do hate when you get so much that half of it gets wasted.

13. Gluten-free bagels (if you don’t have a gluten sensitivity).

Pugliese: We make them, we do it. I guess it technically should be a crime because what makes a bagel a bagel is the high gluten dough.

Zalaznick: We make great gluten-free bagels. If you don’t have a gluten allergy I’m not sure why you would eat it, but it’s a great thing for the gluten-free community.

Daoheung: We make them, but they are never going to be the same. Bagels are literally the most gluten piece of bread one can get. I understand the appeal, but never going to be the same.

14. The fact that Ice-T has never eaten a bagel.

Pugliese: I feel bad for him, I don’t know if it’s a crime. He’s from Los Angeles so he gets a pass. If I were from Los Angeles, I would probably stay away from bagels, too.

Zalaznick: Is that possible? I find that hard to believe. Maybe I should send him some.

Daoheung: What?! That is so crazy. I honestly don’t even know what to say!

Pugliese: Again, I would just put the blame on California. They shouldn’t have anything to do with bagels, they just don’t know.

Zalaznick: The new one looks great, like a Sadelle’s bagel. That was nice of them.

Daoheung: The second one was much better.

16. Montreal-style Bagels.

Pugliese: As a baker, I have respect for the craft of what they’re doing but I just don’t like them personally. It’s just not the same.

Zalaznick: Strongly dislike. Do not think they’re bagels.

17. New York-style Bagels.

Daoheung: We are a perfect hybrid of the two, so you don’t have to decide! Both have their great qualities, but I do love the wood fire and honey of a Montreal bagel, hence why we borrowed it from Montreal.

Kristen Aiken contributed reporting to this story.