Is New Jersey Actually The Bagel Capital Of The World?

When you think bagels, what geographic location immediately springs to mind? If you're like everybody else in the world and in 49 U.S. states, you're probably going to say New York City. While bagels originated in Poland, where they were created by the Jewish community to get around a ban on baking bread (because bagels are boiled), they made their way in the 19th century to New York's Lower East Side. 

It wasn't until the 20th century that they gradually spread out through the rest of the country, and into Canada as well (evidently the bagels of Montreal are well worth crossing the border for, according to The Atlantic).

Despite this heritage, the state of New Jersey has made the controversial — some would even say sacrilegious — claim that it, rather than its neighbor to the north (New York, not Canada) is the real bagel capital of the world.

What was New Jersey thinking?

This bold announcement, made on National Bagel Day (January 15th, in case you need to mark your calendar for next year), was released via the state's official Twitter account. It merely consisted of an outline of the state filled with bagels, captioned "bagel capital of the world #NationalBagelDay." No explanation, and no excuse.

Needless to say, the comments field was soon populated with dissenting opinions. While there were some homers who agreed with New Jersey's official state Tweeter that Jersey bagels really were the best, others were incredulous. "I call gabagool on that claim," commented one user, while another concurred: "No way. I've lived in both NY and NJ, NY wins for sure." 

Yet another commenter tried to placate the state, saying "I love you, New Jersey, but no. You perfected the hot dog. Stick with that," with a similar response agreeing "There are a few things Jersey does better than NY. But bagels aren't one of them." Perhaps the top comment, with 93 likes, was one that succinctly summed up New Jersey's audacious claim: "Sounds like something an Ohio native living in NYC would say."

New York fires back

New York's mayor, Bill de Blasio, was quick to weigh in via his Twitter account on this slight against his city's signature food, but he may not have done the cause much good. After affirming that New York City has the world's best bagels, he kind of ruined things by going on to admit that his favorite bagel is a whole wheat one with extra cream cheese. 

According to Grub Street, the original tweet referenced the fact that de Blasio likes his bagels toasted, but that tweet was retracted when fact checkers pointed out that his regular bagel place, Park Slope, doesn't do toasting. Commenters called him out for flip-flopping on the toasting issue but saved the real heat to roast him over his whole wheat choice. 

One user likened it to "saying the go-to order at your favorite slice joint is cauliflower, hold the cheese," while another characterized whole wheat bagels as something you order "when you tell everyone your New Year's resolution is to eat healthier but aren't that serious about change," admitting that this would make it "the perfect choice for de Blasio." Yet another user referenced an earlier De Blasio's food controversy: "He eats pizza with a fork and knife and toasts his fresh bagels. This is the darkest era of NYC leadership."

While we may not have any scandals on the scale of Megxit here in the U.S., at least we've got bagel border wars to keep us entertained.