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Too Many Cooks: What's on Your Bagel?

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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: Too Many Cooks, Behind The Scenes