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Trader Joe's Everything But The Bagel mix is the most versatile seasoning in our kitchen

Illustration for article titled Trader Joes Everything But The Bagel mix is the most versatile seasoning in our kitchenem/em
Rec RoomRec RoomHearty recommendations from The Takeout staff.

How do I put this... I love bagels but I don’t love bagels. One of the great innovations of sandwich-construction is the lox-and-bagel—rich, smoky, briny, savory, melding luscious and crispy textures. But I’ve always taken issue with the bagel itself, mainly with its density. Downing one of these boiled bombs is like trying to bite into drying cement (which is why I prefer Montreal bagels). My workaround has been to use heavily toasted English muffins, which I slather on with cream cheese, layer with cold-smoked salmon, and top with capers and a squeeze of lemon.

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Something, though, was missing. It was lacking those crunchy nubs of sesame, garlic chips, and dried onion bits that made an everything bagel, well, everything. And then I discovered Trader Joe’s “Everything But The Bagel” sesame seasoning blend and life separated into before and after.

Everyday has brought new discoveries with this seasoning mix. My favorite non-bagel application is over scrambled eggs. We’ve sprinkled this on roasted carrots. And this makes an appealing chip dip when combined with sour cream.

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Of course, Trader Joe’s isn’t the only grocer that makes this type of bagel seasoning—take your pick on Amazon. But we found ours at our local TJ’s for $1.99 and it’s become one of the best and most versatile investments in our kitchen.

Kevin Pang was the founding editor of The Takeout, and director of the documentary For Grace.

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Are you bageling correctly?

A bagel should be double-toasted (double because only toasting it once just makes the bagel tan). You want a slight char around the edges and good browning on the cut faces. A properly toasted bagel will have part crunch and part chew. The warmth from the bagel should slightly melt the cream cheese.

On top of this, you put a bed of cucumber slices, then red onion (sliced, not minced), then your lox, and then top with a slice of tomato. On the other face, put the capers (they will adhere to the cream cheese on that side). Pressing down, slice in half. The toasting will also further cook the bagel, causing it to yield some of its sponginess, allowing it to remain compressed.

A proper Sunday brunch should also include smoked sable, whitefish (whole, not prepared salad), pickled and/or creamed herring, and smoked sturgeon if you can find it. Serve the whitefish and sable on buttered rye toast (preferably seeded). Pickles and olives are a good accompaniment.

If you have had a proper Jewish Sunday brunch, you will consume upwards of 3 liters of water in the afternoon. It’s part of the reason you only want Nova lox and not belly lox. Belly lox is saltier and you are already eating plenty of salt.

This is how all of my grandparents did it. It’s how my great aunts and uncles did it. It’s how my parents and aunts and uncles do it.