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Mar 26, 2009 08:43 PM

Am I the only one with this absurd pet peeve about bagels and cream cheese?

I have had this thing since I was came to mind again because I had bkfst the other day with a woman who consumed the above in the manner which I hate most!!! What is the deal with eating a bagel with cream cheese as a sandwich?? With a giant WEDGE of cream cheese in the middle? I respect anyone who likes that, don't get me wrong. To each his/her own. But I think that is so gross! Cream cheese to me is a condiment. When I order a bagel with cream cheese (or make it myself) I ask for a shmear of it...literally. Like the bagel has a very light coating. No layering. About the thickness of butter on bread. And I must eat the bagel in 4 pieces. Not like a sandwich. I will pull the two halves apart to eat it separately.

I know this may sound weird. It is not an all consuming thing. It's just when I notice other people not eating bagels the way I do it drives me nuts! :-)

What do you think?

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  1. Why can't a bagel be a sandwich?

    As a kid I used to have creamed cheese and date nut bread sandwiches.
    I've made peanut butter and bagel sandwiches too?

    5 Replies
    1. re: monku

      Oh!! ME TOO on the date-nut bread and cream cheese. Also, that brown bread in the cans that is made to go with baked beans? That is SO GOOD with cream cheese on it! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE me some cream cheese. Mmm! Now I'm kinda craving cheesecake. I think I have everything needed to make it in my kitchen, BUT it's 11 at night, so maybe tomorrow. I'll just dream (literally) about it tonight. Also, I think I'll get some of that brown bread tomorrow too.

      1. re: monku

        Date nuts bread and cream cheese is amazing!! I haven't had that in decades literally.

        1. re: kchurchill5

          I haven't seen that delicious date nut bread (in a can) in years. I'll have to do some searching online - now I'm really craving some. With cream cheese, of course. Yum!

            1. re: Catskillgirl

              The food section of my local paper included a recipe for date bread this a.m. Let me know if you would like me to post it in home cooking. Apparently, everyone has dates on the brain! ;)

        2. people who expect me to eat exactly the way they do drive me nuts

          1 Reply
          1. re: Jase

            Me too, but then I have my own demands, like keep your damn mouth shut while you're chewing and don't suck air through your teeth in lieu of a toothpick...

            I guess we all have issues.

          2. I think you should focus on your own plate and let other people eat what they want. Cream cheese is not a condiment, like butter or mustard or mayonnaise. Cream cheese is a cheese. Also, a schmear is not a light coating. It's a thick coating, a quarter inch at least. Says me.

            48 Replies
            1. re: small h

              Is it ok to eat a bagel with cream cheese and lox like a sandwich?

              1. re: monku

                It is required. But you can cut it in half, top to bottom. Ok, I confess to eating open face bagel & lox, but only because I was sampling different kinds of lox and trying not to overcarb.

                1. re: small h

                  "It is required."

                  Completely disagree. I always eat it open faced. Bagel, cream cheese, lox, onion and tomato on top to hold it all down. Never as a sandwich.

                    1. re: valerie

                      valerie, i'm with you. that's *precisely* the way to eat it. eating it as a sandwich makes it too doughy/bready. plus, the open-faced method gives you an excuse to double up on the lox (or in my case, nova) - i use the same amount on each half as most people would put inside a sandwich :)

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        Now that's the best point I've read. More fish :) YAY.

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          Agreed, plus in sandwich form the bread hits your tongue first, the texture and taste impact of the salmon is largely lost!
                          But, a toasted breakfast bagel and cream cheese? I'm generally getting that as a convenient breakfast on the run item so to go, in a bag, so it will be a sandwich and I won't pull it apart. At home, yeah, I prefer open-face, again for more cream cheese impact.

                        2. re: valerie

                          I'm with valerie. Except for the tomato, haven't had that on it, but if you ate that like a sandwich it'd squirt out the sides for sure. AND out the middle.

                          1. re: EWSflash

                            you've *never* had it with tomato? you must! it's incomplete without, the tomato holds everything else in place, and protects your fingers from getting all fishy or onion-y.

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              If you really want to hold everything in place, try a slice of swiss cheese on top. Nothing will slide out, even if your ingredients include slippery stuff like lettuce and onion.

                              1. re: Bob W

                                Swiss cheese? doesn't work with nova, cream cheese, capers, onion & least not for my palate! :)

                                1. re: Bob W

                                  Lettuce? Swiss Cheese?

                                  Boychick Bob, vat u doing to zat bagel? Oy.

                                  1. re: jfood

                                    If available, I do sometimes like to slip a few thinly sliced pieces of cucumber in there too. And lettuce, while I don't add it to this dish, I could kind of see.

                                    But swiss cheese? Another vote for no!

                                    1. re: valerie

                                      Cucumber? What a lousy way to ruin a great meal! I HATE cukes :) You probably figured THAT out. Though no street credi, I'm a bagel,lox, creamcheese, capers, red onion gal. Nothing more or less.

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        I'm with you, but cucumbers sounded good for a minute. Though no tomatoes for you? I have stated in other threads that if it were my last meal on earth, it would be the bagel, lox, etc. And the break fast at the end of the Yom Kippur holiday is seriously my favorite meal of the year....with a side of whitefish salad.

                                          1. re: jfood

                                            Except as a fur coat that I can't afford, I don't know what sable is.

                                            BTW, jfood, can you post your onion soup recipe please?

                                            1. re: valerie

                                              Here's my favorite way: Bagel, lox, cream cheese (lots of it or it's not a shmear), tomato (a must), red onion, lettuce, maybe Persian cukes on the side. Absolutely, no cheese! And eat it however you want - half a bagel, in quarters, a sandwich - why should anybody care how you eat it, as long as you enjoy it. Definitely NOT TOASTED If you get a real old-time bagel, such as the Bagel Hole in Brooklyn.

                                        1. re: jfood

                                          You guys sound like my brothers! Yes, heresy to some but at least the swiss is still on the savory side of things.

                                          The swiss cheese works for me because I only use it on bagels that already have at least five layers of ingredients and I need something to hold it all in place. It's so far from the cream cheese that it's in another zip code. 8>D

                                          Also, let me point out that my family was so old school that we had carp on bagels. Not whitefish (I guess that is what others may know as sable, chubs, or -- at least in Baltimore -- revelation (WTF??)), but carp. Oily and delicious. My bagel bona fides are in order!

                                          1. re: Bob W

                                            jfood remembers carp as well.

                                            BTW - Sable is cod and chubs are baby whitefish.

                                            Bona fides accepted.

                                            Now next question:

                                            What are the 5 layers?

                                            1. re: jfood

                                              from the bottom: cream cheese, fish, onion, tomato, lettuce. The onion and lettuce are both "slippery" layers. I would add capers as well if the fish layer is lox but not enough so as to constitute an additional layer.

                                              It must be like Cincinnati chili -- at some point you start to add things that reasonable minds can disagree on.

                                              One of my cousins, a talented artist who is sadly no longer with us, once created a "blueprint" for constructing a bagel sandwich. It looked just like an architect's drawing, except the subject was a bagel instead of a building. It was quite good and everyone who has posted on this thread would probably have enjoyed it.

                                              1. re: Bob W

                                                had everything but the lettuce layer.

                                                and do not get jfood started on Cincinnati chile, blech.

                                                1. re: Bob W

                                                  I have seen that picture! It was great. I don't think I agreed with all the layers but the concept was brilliant!

                                                  1. re: Bob W

                                                    Any idea what company published it? I found this thread by searching for info on a bagel blueprint my folks have. It hung in their office for about 15-20 years, and when they moved their offices 10 years ago they brought home the artwork. Our whole family loves it!

                                                2. re: Bob W

                                                  Swiss cheese is weird. But if you want something really good, replace that swiss cheese with a fried egg. Maybe weird, too, but SO good...

                                                  1. re: Bat Guano

                                                    Wow a reconstructed "LEO, bagel and a schmear"

                                                    1. re: Bat Guano

                                                      Great Gobs!!!!! Wandered into a MickeyD's in Hong Kong years ago and was amazed to get a fried egg on my burger; since then found it's not that weird, and I love goopy friend egg yolk on almost anything. Fried egg on top of cream cheese is, I guess, sortof an Eggs Benedict variant, so...... ENJOY!!!!

                                                      1. re: Bat Guano

                                                        Egg on bagel: Nothing wrong with that in theory, but it's something you could get at McDonald's under the name "Eggel" or something equally hideous so on philosophical grounds I must respectfully decline. 8>D

                                                        1. re: Bob W

                                                          OK, now I have to confess: I go the sandwich route, and with a bagel and the CC, fish, tomato, onion, and then an egg - well, you really come to grips with, so to speak, the soft interior-dense bread issue. So the last couple of times I've replaced the bagel with a nice crusty ciabatta bread, which looks kinda like a bagel without the hole, but is much less dense and more crispy, so you can bite through it without the contents of the sandwich squirting all over the place. Seriously, you have to try it.

                                                      2. re: Bob W

                                                        sable fish not= whitefish

                                                        ... it is also called sable (USA), butterfish (USA/Australia), black cod (UK, Canada), blue cod (UK), bluefish (UK), candlefish (UK), coal cod (UK), and coalfish (Canada),

                                              2. re: small h

                                                Open face is the way. There was a thread about cutting a bagel into THREE slices to facilitate more toppings/less carbs, take your pick.

                                                Thick schmear, red onion, nova, and tomato.

                                                1. re: phantomdoc

                                                  the best way to reduce the carbs & make room for more toppings (and mess-free eating) is to slice the bagel in half, *scoop* out most of the inner dough making sure to leave an intact shell, and toast it. then fill with whatever your heart desires. you can pack A LOT of smoked fish in there!

                                                  1. re: phantomdoc

                                                    LOL yes, I started that thread. When I was a kid, I would slice a bagel into thirds so as to have more surface area on which to spread more cream cheese.

                                                2. re: monku

                                                  I suppose it is ok, but monku, if you eat it like a sandwich, you only get half the pleasure, half the loxand you finish it in half the time! Cut the puppy in half, schmear both sides with cream cheese, add sufficient lox (nova's better, but that part is up to you) to each side, top with onion, tomato, capers as you please and eat it.


                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                    this is exactly how -- and exactly why -- i like the open-faced style. ha!

                                                  2. re: monku

                                                    I was thinking the same thing! Lox and a slab of cream cheese on an onion bagel... yummy!

                                                  3. re: small h

                                                    As someone who grew up with a Jewish mother, I can tell you that you are 100% wrong about the schmear. It is indeed a light coating of anything on a bagel. To be even more precise, a schmear truly on relates to the light spreading of cream cheese that is topped with onion and lox. No thick coating ever!

                                                    1. re: jhopp217

                                                      As someone who grew up with a Jewish mother and a Jewish father and is herself Jewish, I strongly disagree. But you don't have to take my word for it. I did an image search for "bagel with a schmear." I couldn't find anything that looked like a "light spreading of cream cheese." I found these, though:


                                                      1. re: small h

                                                        Now schmear this:

                                                        p.s. I don't eat bagels as sandwiches typically, but have enjoyed the odd bagel sandwich (cut in half) from Russ and Daughters. I miss that place. Now I live, a lonely Jew, without a decent bagel (or whitefish salad!) in sight.

                                                        1. re: Lizard

                                                          Oy vey iz schmear! I'm walking distance from Russ & Daughters. I'll send your regards.

                                                        2. re: small h

                                                          The whole point is that "a schmear" is a noun. To schmear is a verb meaning to spread. Here is the definition a "schmear"

                                                          1. a dab, as of cream cheese, spread on a roll, bagel, or the like.

                                                          2. a number of related things, ideas, etc., resulting in a unified appearance, attitude, plan, or the like (usually used in the phrase the whole schmear).

                                                          3. a bribe.

                                                          1. re: jhopp217

                                                            <The whole point is that "a schmear" is a noun. >

                                                            Wait, what? As far as I can tell, this discussion is primarily about how much cream cheese constitutes a schmear. What does part of speech have to do with anything?

                                                    2. lovessushi - we of the globbed on cream cheesers find shmearing gross. It becomes opaque and should an interesting conversation ensue the shmear turns into cracked wallpaper paste.

                                                      I want a mouthfull of creamy cheese, nice and creamy with an infinitely crispy, dangerously shardy bagel. I want the bagel to have so much cream cheese that it sticks to the tip of my nose when I nosh in on the bagel... oughly in the same mount as someone may...say... shmear miserly atop their bagel.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                        In my family (in RI, we didn't use the word shmear), I was known for "glomming" cream cheese on my bagel. So much so that I would leave teeth marks in the cream cheese.

                                                        Oh for the days when cholesterol was not an issue.

                                                        Now I eat a bagel two different ways. If I just have cream cheese, I eat it as a sandwich (cut in half). If I have other ingredients, I'll make it open faced with lettuce serving as the top layer.

                                                        1. re: Bob W

                                                          How true. Not just cholesterol, but weight. Oh for the days of a faster metabolism. I now only eat 1/4 of a bagel at a time -- that's 1/4, a bagel cut in half cross-wise and then lengthwise and then only 1 section of the bagel. *That* is equivalent to roughly 1 slice of bread - it may exceed 100 calories. I try to limit the cream cheese to a maximum of about 100 calories -- depending on the type of cream cheese, it could be a T of creamcheese or quite a bit more, although the fatfree varieties can be plastic-tasting. However, even with all these restrictions in place, I get the sense of having had a bagel with cream cheese -- only much more fleetingly...

                                                        2. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                          I hate a smear, you can hardly taste it. I want a nice coating of on my bagel. But honestly, I don't care. If they like it, then why not. I like cream and plain coffee, my friend won't touch coffee my other friend puts so much sugar and cream in it isn't even coffee anymore. No difference. I hate to dine out with the person that is soooo picky it takes them 5 minutes just to order coffee their way and another to order their customized dinner with this on the side that on the side, light on this light on that, none of this and none of that. By then... the dish doesn't even resembled what he or she ordered. Now that ... drives me crazy.

                                                        3. Bagel cut in fours? Why? Did you break your jaw?