The Most Popular Bagel Flavors in America Are a Problem
+ the kid who ordered $2600 of SpongeBob icepops behind his mom's back.
Happy Friday and welcome back to The Crunchwrap!
This week, we’re looking into America’s favorite bagels, the devil’s bargain of New York City real estate (good light vs. no toilet), and the reasons behind Spirit Airlines’ crazy success. Plus, a recipe for roasted chicken that would be perfect to make if you’re snowed into your apartment this weekend because a bomb cyclone.
Thanks as always for reading…
Earlier this month, the third-party delivery app GrubHub released a report of its most popular bagel orders in America. And, um, here’s what they were:
So, first reaction here:
And here are a few ways that The Crunchwrap is looking at this information:
The Oldest Prejudice
If who know me personally you can attest that my reaction to most things is USUALLY to leap to charges of conspiracy, micro-aggression, and antiSemitism. And, in the context of the seminal graphic novel Maus being banned in a Tennessee school district this week and plenty of other recent headlines, how could you blame me?
But, okay, maybe I’m reading too much into THIS ONE.
Is GrubHub worth trusting as an arbiter of bagel popularity?
Honestly, yes. According to Bloomberg analysis, while they only have 15 percent of the delivery marketshare after more popular competitors (DoorDash and UberEats), GrubHub captures huge swathes of the market in big Northeastern cities. (NYC, 37%; Boston, 35%; Philly, 32%)
These are places that—and I don’t feel like it’s a reach to say it—have pretty well-established bagel cultures. (One outlier here is Chicago [32%], which has both bad pizza and bad bagels.) So if blueberry bagels are popular in these places, it’s gotta be true elsewhere. Perhaps even more so.
Some Bagel History
GrubHub’s findings may actually track with the
hole whole of recent bagel history. Way back in 2015, I wrote overwrote an obituary for Daniel Thompson, the son of a Jewish baker who invented the machine that allowed the mass-production of bagels. (Murray Lender of Lender’s Bagels bought it off him in the 1960s and the rest is history.)
What this ultimately meant is that the humble bagel—once light and crusty and obscure and perfect—became the type of thing you’d stuff into your freezer because it was basically a rock already. From this early denigration of the bagel comes the down-market effect: Blueberry, Rainbow, Asiago, etc., plus the ubiquity of bagels.
Ultimately, in New York City, the outcome of GrubHub’s findings were a bit more reasonable: Everything bagels took the top prize while cinnamon raisin, onion, blueberry, and jalapeño followed suit.
As an onion partisan, this made me feel better. Confused, but better.
I’m at the point in this winter where TikTok’s algorithm understands that all I want after a long day of isolation is heart-warming dog content. I get that it’s weird, but enjoy it anyway:
Speaking of algorithms, I’m now available to ghostwrite professional presentations that will make sure you get at least six weeks’ severance upon dismissal:
Snack of the Week: A Heavily Salted Chicken
Even if the idea of roasting an entire chicken daunts you, you should absolutely give it a shot. I say this because I was lucky enough to have someone else make this delicious chicken for me while I scrolled on my phone on the couch. (But I’m told it’s easy and the recipe only has three steps.)
Anyhow, it was honestly a Top 3 roast chicken of my life. I hate that I’m about to type this, but if you’ve ever made it to the infamous Henne, it’s that level/style of chicken—simple, savory, and juicy with none of that buttermilk nonsense all the kids are into these days.
Nu, what else?
Last week, a 22-month old toddler ordered $1800 worth of furniture on his mother’s phone last week. Cute story, kid, but as Hannah Knowles reported last year, a 4-year-old ordered $2600 of SpongeBob icepops to his aunt’s house after his mother said he couldn’t have them. Fortunately, a GoFundMe helped out, and raised $25,000+ for the family.
This is a truly great deep dive into the surprise success/economics of Spirit, the internet’s most-hated airline: Since 2009, its operating margin has consistently been well above the industry average, peaking at an astonishing 24% in 2015 (compared with an industry average of 15%).
Stephen Ruddy found the perfect apartment in Manhattan. The only catch? No toilet. Between the aggravating familiarity and a comments section filled with horror stories, this piece is an excellent weekend read.
That’s it for this week’s Crunchwrap! Stay safe out there.