Photos by Rochelle Li, Words by Grady Erickson
If there is one fact known by all, it is that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, a lesser-known fact about breakfast is that it is the hardest meal, for most, to get motivated about. There have been countless times I’ve gone to bed planning on eating a well-balanced breakfast, only to wake up and hit snooze three times until breakfast is no longer an option. And guess what? I immediately regret my decision to savor those 10 extra minutes of sleep, making me late for my first obligation of the day. So what is the answer to the breakfast conundrum, you may be wondering? Bagels and cream cheese.
Think about it: it takes a matter of seconds to toast and top a bagel with cream cheese. You can buy a bagel cheaply, or even make it at home while brushing your hair. While I think highly of these doughy rings of joy, I’m not the only one who puts the bagel on a pedestal; according to AIB international, a consumer reporting agency, commercial bagel sales in 2012 totaled a whopping $592,725,400.
While bagels can supply a filling breakfast and bountiful smiles, I believe it is important to ask more of bagels. What can they really do for us, beyond giving us the energy for a three-hour statistics class? Our interactions with bagels and all the different toppings that come with them can tell us about ourselves. The variety of bagel and the toppings we choose, morning after morning, reveal who we are as individuals and the lives we lead.
To test my theory, I took to the streets. I asked several students what their go-to bagel and cream cheese combo is, then I asked them how that relates to their personality and daily life. One student claimed with certainty that her favorite bagel combination is an “everything” bagel with lox cream cheese: not a terribly unusual combo, but wilder than the average. Then, she shared with me that, in hindsight, her bagel choice does represent her personality accurately: she consistently attempts to have a mix of everything, even if it doesn’t all fit in her schedule– or on her bagel.
Next, I spoke to TasteBUds’ very own Taylor Mazzuoccola. Taylor, when asked what her favorite bagel and cream cheese combination was, took a few minutes to ponder the question and ultimately did not have a set answer for me. She likes to try something different each time, or she reflects on how she’s feeling that day, and makes a bagel selection to suit her mood. Taylor’s bagel choice, or rather lack of choice, fits her. She told me that at times, she can be indecisive, but that’s because she doesn’t want to miss out on a good thing. She enjoys variety and always wants to try new things while having the comfort of tested, reliable options to fall back on; it just depends on the day.
When I first came up with my all-telling bagel theory, even I was a bit skeptical. After it was all said and done I decided to look internally and see what my bagel fixations say about who I am. Looking at my personal bagel consumption records I found two trends: I eat bagel sandwiches and savory bagels with savory cream cheese. Both of these findings make so much sense. Like a sandwich, I live my life jam-packed full of many different things and ingredients, and each one of these things make a layer on my bagel sandwich of life. The savory side of my breakfast preferences definitely reveals the savoring quality in my personality. I love to savor things; whether it is memories, or moments, or food, I always tend to save a memento, or eat slowly, or take pictures just so I can savor whichever good thing I am doing, or eating, at that time in my life.
The big lesson is that food choices may seem mundane, but are actually quite personal. Think about how boring meals would be if we were all alike! There would be no variety. All bagels would be the same type and no bagel innovations would ever occur; and what kind of life would that be? So now that you have a new appreciation for all combinations of the World’s best breakfast food, take your bagel and cream cheese choice seriously– it speaks volumes about you.