DEAR MISS MANNERS: How does one spread cream cheese on a bagel?
Assuming the bagel is cut in half, does one spread cream cheese on an entire half of the bagel? Or is a bagel treated as, say, a dinner roll, where one only butters the pieces that one breaks off?
I’m afraid that my family didn’t come across bagels in the old country, so this has us a little mystified. (I admit I have been treating it as dinner bread -- it seems less gauche than buttering an entire half-bagel.)
I await your answer with bated breath. There’s a very nice bagel shop across the street, and I will enjoy it so much more when I know how to eat the bagels properly.
GENTLE READER: Either method you describe is indeed proper, depending on whether you consider it a piece of bread or a sandwich.
However, Miss Manners warns you: Before you enjoy the bagels from across the street, make sure that you specify that they be delivered to you dry and/or whole. Otherwise, the shop will generally do the spreading for you, leaving you with a warm, cream cheesy gloop that will be nearly impossible to eat neatly -- or to get off of your sleeve.