Consumer Reports Called Out in Bagel War

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Consumer Reports has gotten itself into some uncomfortably tepid water over a recent declaration. About bagels. Like ordering pizza and hailing a cab properly, picking the best bagel is the provenance of the sort of person who does not appreciate being told differently than what they believe, because that belief comes with some major pride. Also because, obviously, as any New Yorker knows, some bagels are better than others. And Consumer Reports chose the wrong bagels. 

The May issue of the magazine asks: "Who makes the best bagels?" To answer this, they dispatched trained testers to try eight plain and four everything bagels from a variety of purveyors. Admittedly, that's already a small sample size. But it gets worse! Frozen Lender's bagels, the kind your mom used to nuke in the microwave on special days before you went to school in your small suburban town, came out with high marks! Dunkin' Donuts bagels were also given the thumbs up. And Costco bagels were considered "very good." Reviewers were even kind of OK with a gluten-free bagel. And then there's this: "Thomas’ Bagel Thins are a decent option if you’re watching your weight, though they taste more like rolls than bagels." 

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Even worse than that: Consumer Reports editors went so far as to question the supremacy of the New York Bagel: "There’s nothing quite like a New York bagel—or is there?"

Sacrilege. Especially because Consumer Reports sort of skewed their test by not even including a real New York bagel. Really? Pepperidge Farm? 

The New York Post does not take this sort of thing lightly. They have come out with cream cheese-guns blazing to defeat the bagel-detractors. "It's a schmear job," write Kevin Fasick and Bill Sanderson (it's also a great day for puns!). They continue:

Everyone knows the best bagels come fresh from their local bagel shop — except the “experts” at Consumer Reports magazine, who actually prefer the frozen kind. In a study that must be aimed at out-of-towners who don’t know their lox from their gefilte fish, Consumer Reports rated as “very good” the rock-hard Lender’s bagels sold from supermarket freezers.

You’d think a magazine based in Yonkers — just a hop, skip and jump from the world’s greatest bagels — would know better.

Fasick and Sanderson go on to call the Consumer Reports' ratings dubious, and make the (we think solid) point that fresh-made bagels from your local bagel place -- in New York City -- are the best. And further, that if you're looking in Consumer Reports for bagels, you are probably in the wrong place. Truth: Until now, has any real New Yorker read much of anything about bagels? No. Of course not. Bagels are for eating:

“If you have to consult Consumer Reports to find your bagels, you are in deep doo-doo,” said Edith Penty, who ate a plain bagel with tuna at Murray’s Bagels in the Village.

Tuna on a bagel? That's crazy. Anyway, yes, New York wins bagels. Consumer Reports, please tell us how to hail a cab.

Image via Shutterstock by Yezepchyk Oleksandr.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.