New Yorker Bagels

Six Crazy Things About Bagels

Think you know everything there is to know about the bagel? This roll with a hole is a bit more mysterious than you may have given it credit for. Here are 6 things you probably didn’t know about bagels that will surprise you!

  1. In New York, a sliced bagel cost 8 cents more than one that isn’t sliced. Why? The law states that slicing a bagel makes it “food intended or suitable for consumption on the premises”, creating a ready to eat food instead of one intended for home use. Unsliced bagels, on the other hand, are expected to be consumed at home after you slice and toast them yourself. (I guess lawmakers never saw a true New Yorker gorming down a fresh hot bagel regardless of it being sliced anyway!)
  2. Prison inmates are banned from eating bagels or any other food with poppy seeds on them. The reason for this kibosh on the nosh is that poppy seeds can render the same result on a drug test as opiates such as morphine. Even prisoners out on furlough have to sign an affidavit promising not to consume the poppy seed sprinkled bagel, muffin or roll – if they test positive on return to their cell, no excuses will be accepted!
  3. No-one knows why bagels have holes. Oh, rumors abound – they have holes so they will cook evenly; they have holes because New York street hawkers used to carry them on poles; they have holes because they were really croissants joined together at the ends; they have holes because a baker wanted to honor the Polish king who liberated Vienna and so made them in the shape of his stirrup – but the real fact of the matter is that no-one really knows why bagels have holes. (Although the first explanation makes the most sense.)
  4. By 1987, most bagel sampling Americans said they ate a bagel about once a month. By 1993, most admitted they ate a bagel about once a week! Last year, Americans ate 3 billion bagels at home – not counting the millions more consumed daily in bagel shops, in the workplace, and whilst walking down the street.
  5. Nearly 2,000 people every year cut their finger(s) badly enough while slicing a bagel that they have to go to the ER. Makes that expensive, silly looking “bagel guillotine” seem like a really good idea, doesn’t it?
  6. Boiled and baked rounds of malted dough aren’t the only things called bagels. In tennis, a score of zero is a bagel – and if you score zero twice, that’s a double bagel. More disgustingly, some people get “bagled” routinely – meaning they get saline injected in their forehead, then the injector presses his or her thumb in the center of the fluid filled skin, forming a bagel shape. (The saline disperses eventually and supposedly smoothes out forehead wrinkles. It‘s like bagel botox!)

You can use these facts next time you pop out for bagels with friends – dazzle them with your bagel savvy — and make them pick up the tab!


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