Food Fight Erupts over the 'Everything' Bagel

Bagels

The "everything" bagels are on the bottom shelf. AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption AFP/Getty Images

David Gussin of Queens says he invented the "everything" bagel sometime around 1980, when, in a stroke of inspiration, he married poppy seeds with sesame seeds, salt, onion and more.

The longtime New Yorker remembers gliding into the Howard Beach bakery on hockey skates for his first day of work. He was fresh from a practice with the Canarsie Cougars. He makes no claim to excellence as a player. "I stunk," he says. But as a baker, he was visionary.

"I was cleaning out the oven," Gussin recalls. "I was sweeping out the seeds. Instead of throwing them out, I swept them out into a bin. The next day, I said to Charlie, 'Hey, Charlie, instead of throwing them away, put this on a bagel and call it the "everything."'

"We thought we were being cute," Gussin says.

Customers went crazy for the new product. "The 'everything?' I'll try some of that!" Gussin recalls patron after patron saying.

After a New Yorker article last week established Gussin's role in history, someone challenged the creation story. Seth Godin wrote on his blog, "Unfortunately, I worked in a bagel factory in 1977. . . . I was busy baking bagels. Including the 'everything' bagel."

Gussin has a simple response: "That bagel wasn't around the day before I created it."

Has he patched things over with his foe?

"The last thing I want is a brouhaha over the 'everything' bagel," Gussin says. "It brings smiles to people's faces. It doesn't deserve controversy. It's a nice thing."

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