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The Brief History of Bagels and Lox


Happy Bagel and Lox Day!

What Is It?

What Is It?

When it comes to this iconic bagel—sandwich? dish? food of the gods?—New Yorkers are prepared to fight. When gubernatorial hopeful (and Sex and the City star) Cynthia Nixon revealed that she ate her lox on a cinnamon raisin bagel, people were disgusted and downright offended. But, what exactly is a bagel and lox? And why are people so passionate about it?

Typically considered a Jewish sandwich, bagels and lox are composed of five key ingredients: a bagel, cream cheese, smoked salmon, capers, and onions. Sesame seed, plain, poppy seed, and everything bagels are all acceptable choices (sorry, Cynthia) for enjoying this Sunday brunch treat. For many in the New York area, and in Jewish communities across America, bagels and lox are an essential part of the weekend.

Where it Comes From

Where it Comes From

Yeah, but where does it come from? 

The major elements come from countries around the world. Lox—from the Yiddish word "laks" for salmon—finds roots in both European and in Native American food preparation methods. It should be noted, however, that the original meaning of "lox" referred to a salt-brined salmon, not the smoked one we usually eat today. Bagels were likely the result of anti-Semitic laws during the Middle Ages which prevented Jewish bakers from touching bread; the compromise was to boil it. 

However, according to Jewish culinary historian Gil Marks, during the 1930s in New York, eggs benedict was becoming more and more popular. The original unkosher ham, eggs, and hollandaise on toast were replaced with a bagel, cream cheese, salmon and the rest. It's a pretty tasty deal! 

Now, the sandwich has a cult following and even a national holiday: February 9th. 

Hungry for more? Here are 10 Bagel Sandwiches that will Make Lunch the Highlight of Your Day.

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Chef Tips and Tricks

VIDEO: Tropical Salmon Sushi Cups

These fun Tropical Salmon Sushi Cups make the perfect warm-weather appetizer!



  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups cooked sushi rice
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp seasame oil
  • 1 tsp chili paste
  • Salt
  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 lb salmon, diced


  1. Combine the rice vinegar and sugar.
  2. Stir though the cooked sushi rice, and with wet hands, shape into balls.
  3. Press the balls into ramekins lined with parchment paper, and press the rice up the sides of the ramekins into cup shapes.
  4. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, combine the soy sauce, cilantro, sesame oil, chili paste and salt in a bowl.
  6. Combine the mango, avocado and salmon.
  7. Pour the soy mixture over the salmon mixture, and stir through until evenly coated.
  8. Remove the rice cups from the refrigerator, and peel off the parchment paper.
  9. Distribute the salmon mixture between the rice cups.
  10. Garnish, serve and enjoy!

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