Without fail, every time I go home to New Jersey to see my family, I can’t leave without enjoying a New Jersey bagel for breakfast (I don’t care what my ignorant boyfriend says—Jersey bagels are, in fact, that good).
Growing up, my usual was always a sesame bagel with butter and red raspberry jam. Now, after seeing the light that is pork roll some years ago, I often opt for a pork roll egg and cheese on a plain bagel.
Never had I ever, though, exposed myself to an everything bagel. And for one not-so-good reason.
While I enjoyed my sesame bagels from our many neighborhood haunts, my brother (a fellow believer in the stick-to-what-you-know order strategy as a kid) would always get poppy bagels. Those pervasive poppy seeds sticking to my sesame bagels were the bane of my existence for the whole of my childhood (I’ve lived a very hard life).
Whenever I bit into a contaminated sesame bagel, all I could taste was that one stray poppy seed, ruining my morning and basically my life.
So despite my mother’s affinity for everything bagels and the fact that I always thought they smelled delicious, I would never try one because of the poppy seeds.
But last week, while visiting New Jersey, I decided the best way to get over my fear of the poppy was to pair them with pork roll and cheese—how bad could they be? Could poppy seeds really ruin my beloved breakfast sandwich?
Well. I don’t know if it was the fact that there were multiple stronger flavors present in this breakfast sandwich. Or that my childhood trauma fooled my memory into thinking poppy seeds ruined everything they touched. Is it, perhaps, possible that I was over-reacting back then??
Despite my fears, each bite of this sandwich brought not pain and suffering, but pure delight. Salt, garlic, onion, cheese, egg, and fatty meat—what could ever be better?!
Honestly, if the folks over at Eli’s forgot to add the poppy seeds, I don’t think the bagel would have tasted any different! That is how little they affected my enjoyment of an everything bagel. Will I go order a poppy bagel for myself? No, that seems unnecessary. But will I dabble in the occasional everything bagel with butter? Yes, yes I will.*
I will say that I found this one to be a little bit too salty, but that’s a sin I can quickly forgive. It does make me wonder about this “Everything but the Bagel” seasoning that people have been raving about for years. Now that I know that poppy seeds aren’t the devil I thought them to be, I’m sure lots of marinades, dressings, and toasts would be made more delicious by the presence of granulated garlic, onion, and sesame seeds.
Next time I see it in the store, I will have to pick some up: what are your favorite ways to use everything bagel seasoning? Let me know in the comments below or on Instagram @thepickyeaterchronicles.
*But don’t come at me with cream cheese bagel orders. No amount of blog posts or public shaming will make me ruin a bagel with that trash.