Behind the Scenes

Too Many Cooks: What's on Your Bagel?

By • August 9, 2013 • 23 Comments

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You'll be hearing from the staff at Food52 every week in Too Many Cooks, our group column in which we pool our answers to questions about food, cooking, life, and more.

Bagels on Food52

We thought our team had strong opinions about sandwiches, but it turns out we may have even stronger opinions about one particular type of sandwich: the bagel. (We are based in New York, after all.) One thing we all seemed to agree on is that bagels make the perfect blank slate, ready to be topped with whatever our hearts desire. This week, we asked our team:

What is your bagel order?

Do you like it toasted or untoasted? Do you go for everything or plain? Cream cheese or butter? Do you make your own? Tell us in the comments!

Bagels on Food52

Merrill: Plain bagel with olive cream cheese!

Bea: Poppyseed bagel with smoked salmon from Russ and Daughters, sliced cucumbers, red onions, capers and light smear of cream cheese cut in 1/2!

Kenzi: Don't look now, but you all have poppy seeds in your teeth. Sesame bagel, toasted, cream cheese, lox, tomato, capers. (Or dripping in butter and salt, a la Brette.)

Amanda: Okay, so it has to be a sesame bagel, but not just any old sesame bagel, and definitely not one of those bloated ones. It should be flat, dark, the crust a little bubbled. Sliced and toasted, and spread with salted butter and blueberry preserves.

Allen: Sesame bagel with bacon, egg, and tomato.

Sarah: Sesame bagel, hot from the oven, ripped open in chunks, and sprinkled with salt.

Avocados on Food52

Hannah: Toasted everything bagel, sliced avocado, and salt -- à la Maggie and Amelia at lunch the other day.

Amelia: My go-to order is an everything bagel, toasted, with cream cheese and lox. Or, as Hannah pointed out, topped with avocado. But the everything bagel is the most important part of the order. 

Marian: My order is obviously an everything bagel with plain cream cheese.

Karl: Toasted everything bagel with cream cheese.

Allison: Toasted everything bagel, cream cheese, capers, lox, red onion, and tomato, piled up in that order. Yum!

Michael: Whole wheat everything with schmear, lox, red onions, capers, spritz of lemon. Egg with whitefish salad. Toasted cinnamon raisin with honey-walnut schmear.

Gabriella: Whole wheat everything toasted with vegetable tofu spread (sorry I'm not sorry), plus sliced tomato.

Bryce: Everything bagel, cream cheese, sliced tomato. If it's for lunch, add to that pepper turkey. Boom.

Ryan: There is a bagel shop literally below the floor of our apartment, so I wake to the smell of everything bagels every day. (I guess they're the only ones with a strong enough scent?) When I'm feeling sweet: cinnamon raisin with walnut-raisin cream cheese. Feeling savory: everything with scallion cream cheese. 

Better than Everything Bagel Spice on Provisions on Food52 Better than Everything Bagel Spice on Provisions on Food52

Christina: Toasted everything bagel (maybe I should make my own with the Better Than Everything Bagel Spice that we're selling in Provisions), plain cream cheese, lox, and thinly sliced red onion.

Amanda Li: +1 to Christina's order.

Brette: I have many -- my order is a very specific calibration of season, mood, company, and occasion. Plain bagel, toasted, drenched in butter and salt. Everything bagel with cream cheese, smoked salmon, red onion, and a squeeze of lemon. Everything bagel, scooped, toasted, with cream cheese and smoked salmon. (Don't judge -- the scoopage leaves room for more salmon.) Cinnamon raisin with cream cheese. Cinnamon raisin with butter and lots of salt. If the bagel is super fresh and chewy and awesome: NOTHING. Unsliced. Broken off in hunks.

Lauren: +1 scooped everything (for crunch), very well toasted, with just a little cream cheese and lox.

Jennifer: Whole wheat everything bagel (scooped) with tuna salad, sliced red onion and lettuce -- and a half sour pickle on the side.

Kenzi: Here's the thing about scooping a bagel: it's utterly sacrilegious.

Jason: I agree with Kenzi -- all this scooping is madness!

Lindsay: What is all of this talk of scooping?! You're removing the bagel's bagelness. A toasted Zingerman's Enough Already bagel (a.k.a. the best everything bagel of all time) with plain cream cheese -- no skimping.

Maggie: I get a lot of flack for this at school, but I toast a plain bagel, schmear it all over with cream cheese, and eat one half of it with red onions and the other half of it with raspberry jam. It's lunch and dessert, brought to you by one bagel!

Tomatoes on Food52

Emma: Toasted everything, plain cream cheese, lox -- maybe a tomato and thinly sliced red onion if I'm feeling fancy. Always open faced. (When I was little I used to order a toasted chocolate chip bagel with lots of melted butter. Now that's dessert.)

Jason: Cinnamon raisin, toasted, with cream cheese.

Peter: I don't eat a lot if bagels but if within 100 miles of Montreal, then a proper Montreal bagel from Fairmount. Otherwise -- and this makes me a bad Jew -- nothing beats my standard Sunday morning bagel order from my college days: Cinnamon raisin. Split. Toasted. Heavily buttered with salted butter. A generous dose of cinnamon sugar.

Maddy: Everything lightly toasted with cream cheese, super thinly sliced red onion, capers, and smoked salmon (+1 on Russ and Daughters). Cinnamon raisin with plain cream cheese. +1 on cinnamon raisin with butter and cinnamon sugar, but I do it untoasted, load on the butter and cinna-sugar, and then broil open face so the sugar caramelizes a little. 

Stephanie: Team Fairmount forever! St. Viateur is for people with no tastebuds.

Kristen: The Melt was one of the first Genius Recipes I ever came across, from Bagel Cafe in Isla Vista, CA. Bagel of choice (egg or sesame was my choice), split, layered with cream cheese, then a slice of tomato, then a slice of sharp cheddar, broiled. Lemon pepper from a giant shaker at the end. Served on a sheet of foil. There's also a deluxe version, but why be fancy at a moment like this?

Tell us: what's your order? Or do you DIY?

Top two bagel photos by Eric Moran; all other photos by James Ransom

Tags: behind the scenes, too many cooks, bagels

Comments (23)

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8 months ago walkie74

Toasted sesame with lox and cream cheese. Or apple cinnamon with strawberry cream cheese.

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8 months ago Rob Nichols

Interested bagel bakers want to know: what's your definition of "everything". Seasame & Poppy seeds for sure. After that some combination of fennel, onion, garlic, salt, flax and caraway. I've seen lots of combinations; what's the classic and/or preferred mix?

Junechamp

8 months ago ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

sesame, poppy, onion, garlic, salt, caraway. afaik. Oh and I forgot to mention I never eat a bagel closed. Has to be open faced. I can't get my mouth around it as a closed sandwich.

Junechamp

8 months ago ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Bialys.
Okay, I'll play. Untoasted Everthing bagel with scallion cream cheese, lox (not smoked salmon) and a slice of ripe tomato (this time of year).

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8 months ago MomMom

Onion bagel, a light shear of cream cheese, lox, capers, red onion - oh, yes and toast the bagel even if it is freshly baked!

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8 months ago OmniumGatherum

toasted pumpernickel with whitefish salad and sliced tomato.

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8 months ago lisina

sesame or whole wheat, very well toasted, plain cream cheese, sliced tomato.

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8 months ago RespectThePastry

Salted Bagel from Bialy's not toasted or sliced! With a side of cream cheese, butter and sea salt to lightly dip fluffy bagel chunks into. Yum :D

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8 months ago dreonrice

Onion bagel with peanut butter. Hope you don't get stuck in front of me in the bagel line. It's been known to cause some consternation when the orders get crossed...but seriously, it's really good, brave eaters please try!

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8 months ago Diana Pappas

OK for nostalgia purposes, it's gotta be a Northeast NJ bagel. With two older brothers I had to make do with whatever bagel I could grab out of the bag, so I don't discriminate and am happy with sesame, plain or everything though I must say poppyseed was always a disappointment. Anyway, got to hollow out just the tiniest amount to make room for a good slab of cream cheese, thinly sliced (so it is see-through) lox, in-season slices of tomato, the thinnest slice of red onion and voila, the perfect bagel!

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8 months ago darksideofthespoon

Ditto Amelia. Always an everything bagel, first and foremost. Cream cheese, yes. Lox YES. Mmmmmmmmmmm.

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8 months ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Bagels are one of my hands-down favorite things to make because THEN I can make bagel sandwiches! http://thesolitarycook...

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8 months ago Aliwaks

Just remembered a fab late night bagel sandwich my dad would make sesame bagel scooped and liberally buttered w Dijon mustard thick slices of , Hebrew national salami & jarlsberg cheese ... open faced & broiled in toaster oven perfect w a garlic pickle !!!!

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8 months ago Jenna S

Everything or sesame bagel with light cream cheese. But was a huge fan of this sandwich in my college town called the Wham-O that had turkey and avocado on it, with sprouts. So freaking amazing. I miss that.

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8 months ago maeveoh

In the words of my local bagel lady, "Sometimes you just need lox spread."

Whole wheat toasted everything with lox spread. OR Whole wheat toasted everything with scallion & lox. m m m m m

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8 months ago Diana Pappas

Hilarious! Your local bagel lady is right on.

Baci1

8 months ago HalfPint

I like my sesame bagel with a light smear of cream cheese, 2 tomato slices, and a tablespoon of capers. On occasion, add 2 slices of bacon.

Sausage2

8 months ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

A fresh - no toasting necessary - sea salt or sesame bagel from Scratch Bakery (Portland, ME) with gratuitous amounts of cream cheese, lox, and a slice of tomato; or a lightly toasted plain bagel with bacon, cheddar, a fried egg; or, and this may be a habit particular to my family, but it's surprisingly good, a well toasted plain bagel with a lot of melted salted butter and paper thin slices of salami.

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8 months ago ann ladson

everything, toasted with goat cream cheese, crispy bacon and sliced tomato....

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8 months ago Emma Wartzman

I've always wanted to try goat cream cheese!

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8 months ago ZombieCupcake

Whole wheat bagel with peanut butter, banana and egg my favorite pre run meal.

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8 months ago Aliwaks

Ahh I miss New York...
So I have many bagel moods, but never blueberry, never egg, poppy seed, plain or salt.

Warm but not toasted Sesame bagel, butter & spicy brown mustard (maybe muenster cheese & iceberg lettuce if its meal )

Toasted Everything bagel ripe perfect tomatoes, cream cheese & bacon (alt cucumber for tomatoes if they are not perfect or for bacon if feeling chubby)

Warm Pumpernickel bagel, butter on one side, scallion cream cheese on the other, nova lox (sliced thin) Jarlsberg cheese or capers but not both & Butter lettuce

Warm Everything bagel from Ess-a-bagel with Sweet Breakstones butter

Cinnamon raisin toasted till almost burnt w salted butter on one side cream cheese on the other, one do they don't touch.


Toasted till almost burnt Bialy whitefish salad, scallion cream cheese (or dill/scallion/caper cream cheese if avail ) lemon, cucumbers

And there you have the history of the sunday mornings, after school snacks, lunches & breakfasts of my life in bagels.
:)

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8 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Hey Aliwaks -- great to hear from you!