(idea submitted and written by Rachel K.)
Brought to New York City by Eastern European Jewish ancestors, bagels have been an everyday staple in the lives of Jewish Young Adults. But those high-gluten, hole-in-the-middle, chewy-on-the-inside marvels are not the only things that are on the daily JYA mind: it is the art of the Bagel Sandwich. Tuna salad, egg salad, lox and schmear, maybe some capers, maybe a tomato- the possibilities are endless.
Non-Jews openly love bagel sandwiches as well, but have little understanding of the concept of Bagel Sandwiches, frequently adding treif, or, even worse, mayonnaise, to their orders.. When discussing the misuse of the bagel sandwich some JYAs blame MacDonalds and their Egg McMuffin bagel sandwiches: it has bacon, it is fast food, it is on an English muffin, and it’s on the dollar menu. JYA’s might be arguably cheap, but they draw the line at the Dollar Menu, especially when it concerns their bagel sandwiches.
In fact, bagel sandwiches are often the food of choice for all times of day. One JYA, “Marty”, proudly unwraps his bagel sandwich in LSAT class each night, alternating between lox and cream cheese and roast beef to “keep it exciting.” Another JYA, “Samantha”, professed in hushed tones: “I feel like such a cow, last night after we went out I went to H&H and got an open faced toasted egg salad bagel sandwich”, and quickly added, “Scooped, obvy”. For the JYA, editing, complicating, and overanalyzing the items and construction of their bagel sandwiches normally occurs. Outsiders should therefore not be surprised if they see a JYA in the local bagel shop looking distressed because their “sandwich is wrong, but they feel guilty sending it back.”
Perhaps the bagel sandwich craze stems directly from the Jew’s inability to gather without food (Yom Kippur an obvious exception). A bris, brunch, or oneg will regularly include cold cuts, lox, tuna, and/or egg salad along with a bevy of bagels options. Some of the traditional Jewish foods have been abandoned by today’s JYAs; approximately 80% will show outward distain for gefilte fish, yet the bagel has reigned perennially, albeit in augmented sandwich form. Any JYA will happily suffer through Bat Mitzvah brunch, wedged between inquisitorial Jewish Elders, as long as they have a distinctive Bagel Sandwich to lean on for moral support.