How do you slice your bagels? If you answered “horizontally, of course!” you probably didn’t even know there was another way to do it.
You’d be wrong. Apparently, slicing bagels vertically, as you would a loaf of bread, is a thing in a certain Midwestern city, and it’s become the latest internet controversy, joining the ranks of the Laurel/Yanny debacle and the Blue And Grey Dress kerfuffle.
For as long as bagels have been a thing (about 400 years, give or take), they’ve been sliced horizontally (if they’re sliced at all; some prefer to eat them whole). There’s a reason some manufacturers of store-bought bagels sort-of pre-slice the bagels for you: so you can easily put the halves in a toaster, for example, or make a delicious sandwich with lox and schmear.
But apparently, as Slate reports, some bakeries in and around St. Louis think they’ve improved on something that has worked flawlessly for four centuries: they cut bagels vertically. And with that knowledge now making its way across the cyber world, the latest internet controversy has begun.
The “dumpster fire,” as Slate writer Heather Schwedel describes it, began with Twitter user Alek Krautmann. A few days back, Krautmann posted a photo of vertically sliced bagels that he got from an unidentified St. Louis bakery, saying that this particular method is an open secret in the city.
Today I introduced my coworkers to the St Louis secret of ordering bagels bread sliced. It was a hit! pic.twitter.com/XNGbljtpYz
— Alek Krautmann (@AlekKrautmann) March 26, 2019
It remains unclear, as of this writing, which St. Louis bakery provided the vertically sliced bagels, but Mother Jones writer Abigail Weinberg postulates that they came from Panera Bread, a chain that is headquartered in the St. Louis suburbs. It also remains unclear if any other St. Louis bakeries, chain or local, offer vertically sliced bagels.
The whole thing has caused no end of consternation among bagel-lovers and gourmands the world over, with responses ranging from the hyperbolic to the snarky, as BuzzFeed News reports.
Some, for example, perhaps-not-jokingly called the whole thing anti-Semitic (bagels being a Jewish food).
“@_oygevalt is this anti-Semitism because it sure feels like it”
User @JustinBrannan suggested that slicing your bagels this way should be a crime.
“I believe this is a Class A felony in New York City. And if its not, it should be.”
And Twitter user @HaverOfOpinions brought the snark.
Today I introduced my coworkers to the St Louis PBJ pic.twitter.com/yEkBusJx6G
— Haver (@HaverOfOpinions) March 27, 2019
It may be uncomfortable for gourmands and bagel purists to admit to themselves, but slicing your bagels vertically does offer some advantages. If, for example, you’re bringing a variety of bagels to an office thing or to a party, a guest can get a small chunk of bagel rather than having to commit to a whole one. And if you’re driving, you can dip your bagel in your cream cheese, vertical slice by vertical slice.
Not for nothing, Panera Bread locations around St. Louis apparently have machines for just this purpose, according to BuzzFeed. So next time you’re in The River City, and no one is looking, consider giving vertically sliced bagels a try.