The Fuss Over Bagel Sliced Bread
Should bagels be sliced like sliced bread? Here are the opposing views.
When Netizens agree to disagree, and especially so when they outright disagree, the results can be amusing and frustrating, often showing the world that humans can be predatory, combative, and opinionated, for good or for bad. The latest brouhaha is the manner in which bagel should be sliced – horizontally like sliced bread or vertically to create two halves.
So, which is the best method of slicing a bagel? Let’s look at the opposing sides and their opinions. Be sure to read the post with sense of humor since it really doesn’t matter how you slice a bagel for as long as you are happy with it. But that’s getting ahead of the story.
Like Slice Bread
Alek Krautmann, a man from St. Louis, Missouri where the Panera Bread headquarters are located, tweeted a photo of bagels sliced into cross sections, just like a loaf of bread. He called it the St. Louis secret and digital bedlam, in a manner of speaking, soon followed.
The bagels literally went through a bread slicer, as evidenced by the clean cuts on the slices. The height-wise cut made the bagel slices look like large bagel chips instead of being an actual bagel. The sight of the sliced bread-style bagel isn’t a common occurrence and, thus, the brouhaha started.
But there are many people who think that the sliced bread-style bagel isn’t as bad as it looks although it takes some getting used to, as most deviation from the traditional usually requires.
Slicing bagels height-wise means that each bite will provide a bite of everything in the bagel instead of ending up with just the top or bottom part of the sliced bagel. This is a nifty trick when you’re sharing the bagel with others who want the same chewy bread and fillings in nearly equal measures. Plus, it’s a great idea when sharing a bagel with others without adding cream cheese between slices.
The sliced bagels can also be used in making bagel sandwiches. Of course, you may have to make more sandwiches than usual since the slices are smaller toward the end but there are definite advantages.
You don’t have to deal with cream cheese oozing out the sides and digging the bagel’s filling to make room for your preferred filling. Just eat the bagels with a generous smear of cream cheese so you can enjoy the bagel itself plus its original fillings and cream cheese with every bite.
The bottom line: The ratio between the bagel and cream cheese will be more equitable, and the cream cheese can be spread over a greater surface area.
Plus, if you can’t finish the bagels in one go or you have a hankering for it, you can turn the sliced bagels into bagel chips. Just place them into a toaster and bake them until they are crispy. You may also try brushing them with butter and garlic salt to make DIY croutons.
Even when you ask the Panera staff to slice your bagel like sliced bread, you will likely not get funny looks. Yes, it may be an uncommon request but it isn’t unheard of in St. Louis. And according to Pricelisto, there are at least 15 types of bagels at Panera Bread, so there’s plenty of bagel slicing to be had there.
Like a Bagel
For many bagel fans, however, the St. Louis secret should have stayed a secret. Even among St. Louis residents, there isn’t a consensus about the proper slicing of bagel – some agree with Krautmann, some don’t. New Yorkers, arguably the fiercest defenders of all that’s good and true with bagels, have even expressed their horror at the method of slicing.
They have their valid reasons, too. For one thing, the St. Louis style of slicing may result in many slices but these are of irregular sizes. The bagel’s chewy outer crust may just as well be completely sliced off for all the good that the cutting method does to it. You will also have just a sad, little and slightly limp crostini, a crime against the care with which a true-blue bagel has been made.
For another thing, bagels are supposed to be sliced lengthwise because it’s how it was done for many, many years. There are plenty of good reasons why traditions are the way they are – they bring a sense of comfort, contentment and continuity to people.
What then is the right side? Well, we have to say that while the traditionalists and purists have their valid points, the St. Louis advocates also have theirs.
In the end, the United States is a free country that espouses freedom of choice within the limits of the law. You can slice your bagel any way you like for as long as you’re not violating any laws – and there aren’t any law that we know of about it – and you’re happy with it.
The Internet may have an uproar about your choice but it’s your choice and it should be respected. The more important thing is that you love bagels!