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Judge John Hodgman on Bagel Flavors

Lisa writes: My son and I disagree about bagel flavors. I argue that the “everything” bagel tells us what may be a bagel: sesame, poppy, garlic, onion and salt. Thus, things like cinnamon-raisin (one of my son’s favorites) are not bagels.

This is one of the more compelling attempts to deny the existence of the cinnamon-raisin bagel, and I appreciate your willingness to disown your son. But I’ve just returned from the Bagel Hole, one of the most traditional bagel bakeries in Brooklyn. It offers not only cinnamon-raisin bagels but also pumpkin-spice cream cheese — which I bet your son would love. I know it’s hard, but we have a moral obligation in 2023 to accept actual reality rather than invent alternate universes that comfort us. Bagels are like language: They evolve through usage . . . yes, even into rainbows, and no snobby seed grammar can stop them.

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