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St. Louis Bagel 'Secret' Shakes Up the Internet

Apparently people in the city like them sliced 'bread style'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2019 11:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – St. Louis slices its bagels HOW?! A minor scandal has engulfed the internet thanks to this tweet from NOAA employee Alek Krautmann, who said he had recently introduced his co-workers to the "St. Louis secret" way of ordering bagels: "bread sliced." Accompanying the tweet was a photo of two boxes of bagels sliced into thin, vertical strips rather than the traditional method of slicing a bagel in half horizontally. Low-level shock and outrage ensued.

  • Eater (which also rounds up images of people mocking "St. Louis style" foods) speaks to "resident St. Louis expert Julia Rubin" of Vox's The Goods, and she explains that there are benefits to "bread-sliced" bagels, such as being able to "maximize your surface area for spreads" or eat them one-handed in the car while dunking them into a spread.
  • Rubin also points out that unlike, say, New York, St. Louis doesn't have a plethora of bagel options. The only place you can really buy bagels is at the kind of chain joint a bagel snob would look down upon; the bagels in the photo appear to be from Panera Bread—which was actually founded in St. Louis and is still known there as St. Louis Bread Company (and referred to by locals as Bread Co.).

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  • Grub Street notes that one of its contributors reached out to his St. Louis relatives and they confirmed that it is "a thing" to order bakery items "bread sliced," but he (like many others) pooh-poohs the bagel options in the city as, basically, not "legitimate." "This guy's trying to pass off his Panera order as a STL tradition," he writes.
  • The site also took an informal poll and found that more than 70% of respondents were not cool with the vertical slicing.
  • But, among the many incensed tweets rounded up by BuzzFeed (including one that suggests selling St. Louis back to France), there is this: "Can confirm. No one has ever eaten an entire cinnamon crunch bagel from St. Louis Bread Company (or 'Panera' for you other folk). It must be bread-sliced and shared."
  • BuzzFeed also spoke to a one-time Bread Co. employee who says "bread sliced" was the most popular way to order bagels when she worked there. It's done with an automatic bread slicer, and the site unearthed two old tweets from Bread Co. employees who noted that it can be annoying to slice a bunch of bagels that way.
  • Mashable asks some of the obvious questions that this whole thing raises: "Who is supposed to eat these? Are you supposed to take a mini-disc in addition to your slice of bagel? How many slices of bagel is each person supposed to have, anyway? Why not simply slice the bagels in half?"
  • Panera itself has weighed in: "Our team is divided over here. Do other people slice their bagel Bread Co style?" the company tweeted.
(Read more bagel stories.)

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