“The bagel is a lonely roll to eat all by yourself because in order for the true taste to come out you need your family. One to cut the bagels, one to toast them, one to put on the cream cheese and the lox, one to put them on the table, and one to supervise.” –Gertrude Berg
Bagels are one of the favorites of breakfast breads in the Western World, especially the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
National Have a Bagel Day encourages everyone to enjoy this delicious doughy delight in your favorite configuration, and remember the long history of this bread and the people that made it famous.
History of National Have a Bagel Day
Round, dense and best served with a rich luxuriant topping of cream cheese, the bagel seems to have become very popular among the Jewish population of Europe sometime in the 1600’s, but the specifics of its origin remain subject to hot dispute. They may have even been around as early as the 14th century.
Some origin stories have it coming out of Krakow, Poland where it was said to be given to women who were going through childbirth, but no one really knows why it would have been used that way. And although this may be the first historical record of this dense ring of delight, it is likely that it existed for some time before that.
Other tales point to a baker from Vienna who may have developed the bagel in order to celebrate the defeat of the Turks by King Jan III Sobieski of Poland in 1683. In this case, its shape was supposedly meant to be reminiscent of a stirrup. The stirrup, known as buegel, was selected due to the folklore saying that the freed people of Austria had reached out to grasp the stirrup of King Sobieski as he rode by.
What is known is that the bajgiel (an earlier spelling of bagel) would become a central part of the Polish and Slavic diets by the 17th century, and by the 19th it would be found being sold in London on long wooden dowels.
In the 19th century, the bagel also found its way to the Big Apple by way of the Polish Jewish immigrants and was quickly brought under the control of the Bagel Bakers Local 338, a bakers union that held all of the local bagel bakeries under its sway. It eventually began spreading throughout the US in the years following 1975 thanks to the automation of production that became possible.
Whenever it began, there is no doubt that this tasty treat has become incredibly popular and spread all throughout the world. Bagels even made it into outer space in 2008! This occurred when astronaut Greg Chamitoff made the Original Fairmount Bakery famous by taking 1 ½ dozen of their bagels on the space shuttle with him when he was headed to the space station.
Surely, a baked good that makes it to space is worth having a whole day dedicated to it. And so, it is time to celebrate National Have a Bagel Day!
How to Celebrate National Have A Bagel Day
Getting into a celebratory mood for this day is easy–simply follow the instructions of the name and have a bagel. For other ways to enjoy this day, try out these ideas:
Have a Bagel, Of Course!
Quite simply start your day with a bagel smeared with cream cheese or your favorite topping! For lunch, it’s fun to expand that offering with ham and cheese on a bagel, warmed in the toaster or oven.
Even folks who aren’t typically a huge fan of the microwave might find it works in a pinch. Especially because the rich, doughy consistency it gives the bagel while melting the cheese and heating the ham makes it perfect for a filling, comforting, afternoon meal.
Try Different Bagel Toppings
Cream cheese and lox are some of the most important standard toppings for bagels that can be found. But the options are virtually endless when it comes to National Have a Bagel Day! Take some time to think creatively about what to put on that bagel, and then get excited about such a culinary adventure. For starters, try out some of these unique ideas for bagel toppings or bagel sandwiches:
- Chocolate Hazelnut Strawberry Bagel. This delightful combination works well on a plain bagel. Simply spread Nutella or other hazelnut spread onto a lightly toasted bagel. Top with tasty chopped strawberries and chopped hazelnuts.
- Tomato, Onion, Cream Cheese, Avocado Bagel Sandwich. Pile the ingredients on a sliced bagel (toasting optional) and feel free to eat it open faced or like a sandwich.
- Marinara Chicken Mozzarella Bagel. Channeling that inner Italian, this is like a little taste of saucy chicken pizza, but on a bagel!
- Island Dream Bagel. Squeeze some key lime juice into cream cheese and stir together, then chill. Spread over bagels and then top with shredded coconut, toasted macadamia nuts, and key lime zest.
Grab Some Bagel Deals and Discounts
Keep an eye out for the many bagel bakeries that will be celebrating National Have a Bagel Day by offering coupons or lower prices. Some have even been known to give away free bagels!
In the past companies like Einstein BrosTim Hortons, Bruegger’s Bagels, Bagel Boss and even Philadelphia Cream Cheese have gotten on board with the celebration. Check online or pop into a local bagel shop to find out what kind of specials they are running in honor of National Have a Bagel Day.