Any Way You Slice It



self-deprecating poem once branded St. Louis as “first in shoes, first in booze and last in the American League.”  

A lot has changed over the years. St. Louis has lost some iconic shoe companies and is no longer numero uno in footwear. Anheuser-Busch, bought by the Belgian brewer InBev, is still in St. Louis but with lots of challengers to its once undisputed title King of Beers. The perennially losing St. Louis Browns left town after the 1953 season, leaving behind a stubbornly loyal fan base. 

So who could have predicted that St. Louis would finally regain the national attention we once enjoyed through the medium of the bagel? The universal staple of Jewish noshing for centuries put the St. Louis Bread Co. on the map of national news.

It seems that the co-founder of the company known nationally as Panera Bread came up with the idea of slicing bagels into multiple pieces in a bread slicer. Many customers welcome the smaller bits of bagels to cut back on calories and try some of the company’s many varieties. They swear the new style is the greatest invention since, well, sliced bread.  

But purists balk at what became known as #bagelgate. They insist that the circles of dough must be sliced in half to fit into the toaster and accommodate the classic lox and cream cheese combo. For many years, St. Louis was famous for bagels baked and shipped to far off places by Pratzel’s or Petrovsky’s.

Decades ago, at Hillel Houses around the nation, scholars would debate “The Hamantash versus the Latke.” No one could win those debates, but they relieved stress at some of the nation’s toughest colleges.

So it goes with #bagelgate. A nation exhausted from nonstop partisan politics is starved for something soft and tasty to chew on! Thanks for pushing some negative news off the front pages, if only for a few days.  

And long live the bagel, any way you slice it.