It's National Bagel Day AND National Pizza Day...

Does it get any better than this? I don't know what Congress was smoking when they combined these two awesome food groups into a single National Day of food ecstasy but they earned their salaries on that move. Well played. 

How best to celebrate this great confluence of great American food infatuations - that is the question.

Let's first start with a little history on the bagel and pizza. I can't resist pointing out that these two cherished American foods are the by-products of Immigrants. The influx and assimilation of Eastern European Jews and Southern European Italians is totally evidenced with the adoption of Bagels and Pizza into a National Food Day.


The bagel is a yeasted bread product. The dough is hand formed into a ring, boiled for a short time and then baked. It can come in plain form, or topped with various various flavorings such as poppy seeds, sesame seeds, onion, or garlic.

Though the origins of bagels are somewhat obscure, it is known that they were widely consumed in eastern European Jewish communities from the 17th century. The first known mention of the bagel, in 1610, was in Jewish community ordinances in Kraków, Poland.
— Wikipedia

The boiling-before-baking process is pretty unique. And it lends itself to some very comical modern day discussions when the subject of where the best bagel is found. New Yorkers have a pretty strong claim to the title (and, as a New Yorker by birth I tend to support the claim). For example, there is an ongoing debate between Montreal and New York on staking the claim.

Many New York transplants think great tap water makes local bagels distinct.
— USA Today

It's the water. Case closed. :-)


Once again, Pizza is an "old country" recipe brought to our shores by immigrants.

In 16th-century Naples, a galette flatbread was referred to as a pizza. Known as the dish for poor people, it was sold in the street and was not considered a kitchen recipe for a long time. This was later replaced by oil, tomatoes (after Europeans came into contact with the Americas) or fish. In 1843, Alexandre Dumas, père, described the diversity of pizza toppings. An often recounted story holds that on 11 June 1889, to honour the Queen consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy, the Neapolitan pizzamaker Raffaele Esposito created the “Pizza Margherita”, a pizza garnished with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, to represent the national colours of Italy as on the Italian flag.
— Wikipedia

Pizza first made it's appearance on these shores in the late 19th century with the influx of Italian immigrants. Pizza making, and consumption, was centered in the Eastern coastal cities like New York, Philly & Boston, as well as in Chicago and St. Louis. The pizzas of the early days were primarily eaten by the Italian community and did not gain wider acceptance until after WWII.

In that relatively short time between WWII and now pizza has evolved in this country to myriad forms. There is classic New York style soft crust flat pizza, thin crust pizza, deep dish Chicago-style pizza, wood-fired pizza, whole wheat crust, gluten-free pizza, white pizza, etc. You can get pizza with any sort of topping imaginable. 

Now, this is a day worth celebrating.

My favorite bagel is fresh everything bagel with a schmear of cream cheese and some red onion. Yum! Gonna get me some.

I am partial to wood fired pizza - when I can get it. Simple is good, but sometimes I load it up.

Enjoy the day. I am giving this National Food Day an enthusiastic thumbs-up.

Michael Liss