How Joe Biden Sparked The Great Bagel Debate Of 2021

By most accounts, President Joe Biden has had a good first week on the job. His approval numbers are solid (53.9 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight) thanks to what is being seen as his swift action on pressing issues from the pandemic to the climate crisis (via The White House).

Who would have thought then that the biggest buzz surrounding the administration in its first week would have to do with the president's Sunday takeout breakfast? After attending mass, Biden's motorcade was seen dropping by the Call Your Mother Deli, which The Washington Post says was formerly owned by COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients. The order was picked up by Biden's son Hunter, and we are told that he had obtained sesame bagels with cream cheese. And that the bagels were toasted (via Twitter).

Unfortunately, the call to have bagels toasted didn't seem to go down too well, because it divided the internet between the leave-him-alone and the how-dare-he factions. Even New Jersey weighed in on the argument, publishing an op-ed calling out the president for his questionable bagel choices, saying "Joe Biden orders toasted bagels — this presidency is off to a rocky start."

Biden the target of a "schmear campaign," according to one social media user

Some saw nothing wrong with toasting bagels, in fact, as one Twitter user put it: "Bagels are better toasted if you aren't in your area, and probably even if you are. Because toasting makes things delicious." A second paid homage to New Jersey's bagels, saying "Once you order a bagel outside of NJ, you understand why it needs to be toasted." A third defended the act of toasting bagels, saying "I know no one who eats bagels un-toasted. No one." 

But there were those that felt that ordering one toasted was an outright disrespect to bagel nation, saying: "The president ordered his bagel toasted. TOASTED. This is so divisive." And another warned that the debate was meant to sow discord because: "We're less than a week into the Biden administration and already he's the target of a schmear campaign." The people at Gothamist would agree; back in 2014, they wrote that when a bagel is "fresh, possibly even still warm from the birthing process, [...] what are you even doing thinking about toasting it?" Per Insider, toasting a fresh bagel can ruin its intended flavor and texture.

If there must be perspective, one cooler head prevailed by offering this sage observation: "you know the standard for a Presidential scandal has reset from its Trumpian nadir because I found myself outraged that Biden and team ordered TOASTED bagels from Call Your Mother" (via Twitter).