- The healthy one:
A toasted whole wheat bagel spread on both halves with a thin layer of Marmite and half a mashed avocado. Eat this one as an open sandwich and a side of salad leaves. Salty, creamy and saintly.
- The retro one:
A plain bagel topped with a thin layer of Gruyere cheese and smoked salmon. Squish the two halves together and toast in a sandwich toaster or panini grill. Serve with a side of pickled cucumber to cut through all that oil and you have a perfect warming winter snack.
- The heimsche one:
A toasted onion bagel topped with a schmear of English or American mustard, a thin layer of sweet and sour pickled cucumber and a healthy chunk of melting salt beef. Serve with crunchy potato crisps —or chips for our Stateside cousins.
- The Eastern European one:
A pumpernickel bagel topped with Liptauer cheese, which is cream cheese, mixed with finely chopped tiny pickled cornichons, capers, paprika, caraways seeds, Dijon mustard, caraway seeds, salt and pepper. Nigella Lawson has a great recipe for it. Slather it over and serve with a side of new green pickled cucumbers.
- The sweet one:
This one gets the vote from my children. A rainbow bagel slathered in thick deli, cream cheese — not supermarket versions which are neither sour, nor creamy enough. Drizzle over a little honey and then sandwich together. Pour some rainbow sprinkles on a plate and press the sides of the cream cheese onto them so you have rainbow-coated sides. A six year-old’s dream.
Apparently it’s National Bagel Day! Not that we need any excuse to eat more of the delicious chewy, doughy rings. Most of us probably eat them weekly. If not daily.
In the 1880’s, Eastern European immigrants took their beygls with them to the USA. When they arrived Stateside, the name was Americanised to “bagel” and there was even a Union of Bagel Bakers formed to ensure standards were maintained.
Enough already, let’s eat! So how best to enjoy them? Here are my five of my favourite bagel toppers: