Note: This post is not an endorsement of any candidate.
If you haven’t been following the fall elections, feel free to stop reading and doze back off. For everyone else, you’ve probably heard of “Bagelgate” — even though it may have seemed most relevant to Gotham residents, as it involved a staple of New York City cuisine: the bagel. You could say bagels are to NYC as wings are here — everyone has their favorite joint and favorite kind, and there are ways of eating and not eating them that are almost articles of religious faith.
In that sense, “Bagelgate,” involving Democratic gubernatorial challenger Cynthia Nixon, could be considered the NYC equivalent of dipping wings in ranch. Gothamist (appropriately), first broke the story, which they captured on video, of Nixon’s favorite bagel order at Zabar’s (think the NYC bagel equivalent of Duff’s): a cinnamon-raisin bagel with cream cheese, lox, red onion, tomato, and capers. According to reports, in ordering, she described this as a “full load.” Reaction was immediate and intense. Blog Eater.com describes it:
A bagel with cream cheese, lox, red onion, tomato, and capers is an iconic NYC foodstuff, like a slice of pizza folded in half or a dirty water hot dog — but Nixon’s wildcard substitution of a cinnamon-raisin bagel is what’s causing people to lose their minds. A plain bagel would be de rigueur, as would another savory variety like sesame or everything, but a sweet bagel seems decidedly out of place. The NY Post declared it “the strangest bagel of all time,” while one Food & Wine staffer proclaimed it “basically criminal” and Twitter users decried it as “a crime against the bagel gods,” “gross,” and “just wrong.”
People on Twitter who had never used the “barf” emoji — and swore they never would — resorted to it. It was the biggest campaign food story I can recall since Hillary Clinton’s battle with the cheesecake in 2016.
Of all the hot takes on “Bagelgate,” CITYLAB had perhaps the most thoughtful, exploring how regional food is a staple of political campaigns that can also be a pitfall for candidates. And indeed, we see candidates coming through Buffalo making the obligatory stops for wings and beef-on-weck. Several years ago I wrote about my experience with the Spitzer team visiting my neighborhood in Rochester and heading over to Nick Tahou’s for Garbage Plates™. Spitzer took things even further (as, sadly, he had a propensity to do) by bringing regional food from all over the state to Empire State Plaza for his inaugural.
Today, BreadHive is making their own statement on “Bagelgate” the best way they know how: by serving up Cynthia Nixon’s very bagel order for you to try — if you dare. BreadHive is a cooperatively owned bakery founded by women with a menu of sandwiches named for women celebrities (the Britney, the Whitney, etc.) that has attracted a loyal clientele from near and far — and was even featured in the New York Times travel section. The owner-bakers haven’t hidden their support for Nixon’s candidacy. They proudly display her lawn sign out front, and the candidate herself visited the bakery a month ago (it is not known if she ordered the “full load”).
Today’s primary election is important in deciding the direction of our great state for the next four years. If you’re registered with a political party, please do vote in your party’s primary. Regardless of party, or for whom you vote, consider stopping by BreadHive to reward yourself for participating in a “full load” of democracy.
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