Thank you bagels: a love letter to the hole-y food

Hadley Carr

Dearest Bagels of the World,


Before I begin this ode to your greatness, I must first offer you a disclaimer as to not harm your hole-y feelings. I only have involved myself with the likes of Bethesda Bagels, and I have yet to explore bagels outside the DMV region. I hope that one day I may introduce myself to your hole-iness but until then, I shall continue my ode to you as follows.

Bagels, you have rocked my world. Whether you be toasted or burnt (by my inability to use a toaster oven), you have never disappointed me. Even when I have eaten you nearly every morning of every weekday—amounting to nearly 96 bagels over quarantine—you never cease to amaze me. 

You have changed my view, bagels. I’m a plain person. Vanilla ice cream, avocado sushi, cheese pizza—I was a plain bagel person. That was until that fateful day where I nearly out-bageled myself: I had a bagel for breakfast, another mini-bagel as a snacker, and was planning on another bagel for lunch. But on that glorious day, I decided to ask for a lunchtime surprise with a new twist: I would have to guess the bagel. And so began the biggest bagel guessing game I have encountered in my 16 years of life. 

Embarking my journey with my first bite into an orange bagel, I was puzzled by the taste. I’m sorry egg bagel, you’re simply too plain for me. Still scrumptious and fluffy as always, I guess I expected more flavor.

Though, the next, purple-tinted bagel was quite a surprise. It was soft, fluffy, and sweet. Cinnamon? I thought, Cookie? NO! T’was wheat! Oh, wheat. You surprised me. Your sweet, light bite left me speechless. Soon, the bagel was gone, and so was my smile as I was left to wallow in the delicious taste while I trudged through school until my next trek to Bethesda Bagels.

And so my journeys continued, I rode the roller coaster that is bagel tasting, and can now call myself a bagel master. There was the disappointing cheese and oat-coated raisin oat, that was a little too oat-coated for me. Then I made the misfortune of eating a salt bagel. Bagels, why would it ever possess you to sprinkle yourself with salt? You are not a pretzel, you are bagel, bagel up and act like one! 

And banana nut! I had high hopes for you. In fact, while unbeknownst to your flavor, I told my sister that a banana bagel would be delicious. Well, you were anything but. Your nuts nearly chipped my tooth and your flavor is utterly confusing. Luckily, it made my next bagel even better. 

My heart goes to you, pumpkin spice. Though I want to say I don’t take favorites, I do. It’s always been you. Your sweet, light, bite that tasted like gingerbread, and, well, pumpkin, left me in a serene state, marveling at the beauties of fall. The burnt orange leaves billowing in the crisp fall air came to mind as I chomped right through you and you have yet to disappoint me.

But the next week, bagels, oh was I in for a doozy. I learned that you, black and white bagel, do not float my boat. You never will. By my standards, you are disowned as a bagel. I’m sorry, that was harsh. I guess I, even as bagel master, do not have the power to disown you, you do of course, still have a hole, and are therefore hole-y. In fact, I’m not even the most disappointed in you. It’s garlic who pains me the most. Garlic, don’t play with me with your burnt garlic on the bottom, you’re too much for me. I’m sorry, I can’t be reminded of this. 

I can be reminded of my favorites. Pumpkin spice holds the number one spot in my heart, but there are other contenders. Chocolate chip, you’re simple and sweet. Blueberry, my first love, I will never leave you. Cinnamon chip, you too will always have room in the baker’s dozen. Sun-dried tomato, you shocked me with your pepper-like sass, but were ever the more delicious. Even you, Maryland crab. Now you swept me off my feet (luckily I didn’t drop you) in a blur of flavor explosion. With a pinch of spice and a little bit of crunch, I savored every moment I shared with you.

And before I sign off on this correspondence, I would like to give a shoutout to my besties: plain and sesame. You’re plain, you’re casual, we get along great. Sure, I’d never dedicate too much love to you, but I’ll like you regardless. Suffice to say, you’ve been friend-zoned.

With that, bagels, I shall end this letter. You have all served me dearly, and helped me (but mainly my tastebuds) grow. You turned a boring ‘ol plain bae-gal like me into a Maryland crab-chomping, pumpkin spice-snacking epicurean. Bagels, it pains me to say this, but I know ours is a non-exclusive relationship, so if you wish to have other people taste you, I am forced to allow this. Just now that my heart is always to you (but mainly to pumpkin spice). 


Forever your bae-gal,