Oh look! Bagels!
You know, the Jewish American breakfast staple with a slice right down the middle, often topped with lox and cream cheese. Yum!
But wait...what is...THIS:
A style of slicing bagels as you would a loaf of bread — aka bread-sliced — has caused OUTRAGE among a lot of people this week. (Ok, so not real outrage, but, like, bread outrage.)
The drama all started when Alek Krautmann, a St. Louis native and employee of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, tweeted a photo Monday of a box of Panera bagels looking like they’d gone through a paper shredder.
“Today I introduced my coworkers to the St. Louis secret of ordering bagels bread sliced,” he tweeted. “It was a hit!”
Here’s one we recreated ourselves with a knife (not a fancy slicer) so you can see this mess in all its glory:
While Krautmann’s bagels may have been a hit with his colleagues (ALLEGEDLY), they were not so popular with a bunch of other people.
Some people were deeply offended.
And people were going around straight up canceling St. Louis.
Still, some people from St. Louis are adamantly defending the practice, which is most popular at Panera (aka St. Louis Bread Company, as it’s known in its founding city).
And Panera itself said it’s divided over the issue.
Naturally, as a proud bagel eater/Jew/New Yorker/journalist (these are all synonyms), I did what I had to do: I talked to some people who’ve worked at Panera in St. Louis.
Andrea Lanning, 25, explained that Panera locations there all have automatic bread slicers for this very purpose, which she said makes it “easy to dip in cream cheese or butter or just snack on in smaller bites.”
“Bread-sliced was the most popular way to prepare the bagels at the Bread Company!” Lanning said.
Jenna Jones, 20, recounted the painful memory of one Mother’s Day when a customer ordered 169 bagels — all bread-sliced.
“I think it was the worst day of my life and one girl had a mental breakdown when she was helping me,” Jones said.
Bread-slicing, though popular, can be quite a nuisance to Panera employees, as many of them have complained over the years. Just look at these *vintage* tweets I uncovered:
Despite her familiarity with bread-slicing, Jones is still confused about why it’s even a thing.
“It doesn’t even taste better?? Like, it tastes the same, I think it’s just a matter of convenience??” she said.
“I want names of who bread-sliced the first bagel,” she said. “So if you find out, let me know.”
So, are you a bread-slicer? Traditionalist? Let’s start some arguments in the comments, people.