It’s no secret that a bagel is a Jersey food. Sure, maybe they started in New York, but we here in Jersey improved the bagel. Refined it. Elevated it to the lofty position it now occupies in the culinary landscape. And New Jerseyans will always debate the best way to eat one. And what city’s water makes the most delicious bagel.

But there are some non-negotiables when it comes to bagel eating. These are the rules, the unalienable edict regarding the proper consumption of bagels. If you live in another state, you can bend the rules. But if you live here, do bagels the Jersey way. Or live with the consequences.

  1. If toasting, a bagel must be toasted within an inch of its life
  2. Egg bagels are a sin: God doesn’t want bagels to be yellow any more than he wanted them to be green.
  3. A raisin bagel is a dessert, not a meal
  4. Scooping out a bagel is acceptable in most cases.
  5. If you apply pressure with a finger to the outer crust of a bagel and it has any give, it’s not a real bagel. It’s an impostor. Discard immediately.
  6. Too much stuff on a bagel negates a bagel’s taste. If you want eight ingredients on a sandwich, have a sub.
  7. Whole wheat bagels are wrong on many levels. You want healthy food? Go have a salad. Leave the bagels for the people who really appreciate them
  8. If a bagel doesn’t taste good straight from the bag, uncooked and unadulterated, don’t even bother. A great bagel is great even naked.
  9. If a bagel is bigger than a standard salad plate, it has an improper ratio of crust to dough. It’s a fake.
  10. Under no circumstances be flattened, de-holed, squared off, or otherwise reshaped. Would you reshape the Mona Lisa?

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