In Defense of the Retrieved Donut

If this is your first time visiting New York and eating your first bagel, this is definitely cause for excitement and surprise. How did the baker come up with this incredible textured mash that is chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside? It may seem ridiculous to scoop out this masterpiece, leaving behind a sad, hollow corpse. I wouldn’t if I were you … but I know.

Of course, there is nothing better than a fresh, hot, real New York bagel, but I am from the suburbs of New York and have had access to good bagels all my life. I forgot that bagels are inviolable perfection. They have disadvantages. They are tight and hard to fit into my mouth. Like sandwich bread, bagels are a cumbersome vessel, less than the optimal way to get food off the plate and down your throat, unless I scoop out the soft inside to make room for the filling.

After all, as exciting as the bagel itself, there are numerous appetizers: smoked whitefish, pickled herring, salmon, flavored cream cheeses, or even bacon and eggs. Personally, I prefer vegetable cream cheese with whitefish salad and salmon on a bagel. If I don’t scoop out the inside to make room for the layers of fish and dairy, I can squeeze as much food onto my plate or knees as I go into my mouth.

Scooping makes sense. There is already a French sandwich Pan Bagnat , which requires you to scoop out some of the bread from the inside to make room for all kinds of things. It’s simple ergonomics.

Don’t confuse this tirade with a dietary decision, although it is obvious that scooping can remove a third of the calories from a donut. No, I scoop out my bagels in an attempt to eat even more. Instead of tossing the guts, I often fry them into crunchy bagel pieces and dip them into whatever ends up on my plate. Maybe for dessert I’ll put them out with nutella or jam. And if you’re not hungry for a whole donut, you can’t deny that eating less donut will partially relieve stomach pain after a donut.

Wait , you might be thinking – you’re ruining a New York classic ! Take a look at these 2010 and 2016 New York Post rants complaining about hollowed-out bagels. From the first:

“It’s called ‘scooped up,’ and it’s a disfigured version of a Jewish delicacy that is fast becoming the norm among New Yorkers — and is driving donut supporters and vendors crazy.

And the last one:

Few things make New Yorkers more passionate about the disdain – bagel scoops mingle with people who eat pizza with a fork or wear flip-flops on the subway. Some of the anger is directed at literally gutting food that New Yorkers treat with blissful pride; part of that is waste – all the scoops go straight to the trash.

I’ve scooped bagels all my life and never heard of disdain until I read these articles. It looks like these people have security issues. And there are a lot of things that cause more passionate disdain in New Yorkers than hollowed-out bagels. Let’s say if you invaded my personal space by explaining to me why you scoop your bagel without my asking (as I am doing now), or by eating tuna with this taken out bagel on the subway. Also, at least one of these authors seems to be from Baltimore , a city that I don’t associate with bagel expertise.

I respect the fact that bakers who are proud of their bagels can get angry that someone destroys their creation. But this is a damn piece of bread. Eat the way that suits you best. If you want to enjoy a sandwich so that half of the filling doesn’t fall out from under the walls, do what you think is right: hold your head high and pull out the bagel.


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