One of the benefits being born and raised in New York City is The Big Apple has the honor of showcasing one of the nation's favorite fast foods. We are referring to the ONE and ONLY bagel and today is the day to recognize it's popularity as you're encouraged to visit your favorite eatery that carries a variety of this chewy and crunchy pick-me-up which is offered in an assortment of ways that do not disappoint your pallet.

Healthy homemade bagels with cream cheese . Food backround

July 26th has been deemed "National Bagel Day" as this recognition began back in 1986 when Murray Lender, the owner of Lender's bagels came up with the idea of paying homage to this tasty offering. As you walk into your favorite bagel shop, you are mesmerized by the variety of options that are available.

My personal favorite is The Everything Bagel followed by cinnamon raisin and multi grain as the latter choices conform with my quest to lose weight but you have to accompany your sandwich with "the schmeer" which is a slang word for cream cheese and without that all-important topping, a bagel is just NOT the same. hard to believe, there are assorted cream cheese flavors, but I'll stick with the plain or low fat variety as i am a TRUE traditionalist. Bagels are also perfect with breakfast toppings which includes eggs, cheese and your choice of meat (ham, bacon and sausage just to name a few).

Healthy Organic Whole Grain Bagel for Breakfast

Now for some history on how the bagel came to fruition: They were first introduced at the turn of the 20th century as immigrants who first set foot in The United States earned their living as four people were assigned to shape and roll the dough. One individual was assigned to boil bagels and another put them in the oven to assure it's taste tempting flavor.

This was high in demand, especially in my ol' hometown as The International Beigel Baker's Union was established to veer off major competition. Members conducted meetings by speaking in Yiddish to avoid rivals from stealing their unique "secret recipe". This practice continued until the 1960's when other parties used automated means to manufacture the product. Daniel Thompson was instrumental in creating the first bagel maker. Personally, the hand crafted option remains near and dear to me (again remember I'm a traditionalist).

Bagel fanatics have congregated out west for a 5 day festival in Mattoon, Illinois which features live music, parades, contests and of course all in attendance sampling all the varieties this delicacy has to offer. They truly are bringing their appetite along the way.

BOTTOM LINE: Berkshire residents and our neighbors throughout the tri-state region, pay heed: Order a bagel today and AGAIN, DON'T forget to add the customary "schmeer" as you show your allegiance to this delicious carbohydrate, but remember: Moderation is the key. ENJOY! ENJOY! ENJOY!

LOOK: Food history from the year you were born

From product innovations to major recalls, Stacker researched what happened in food history every year since 1921, according to news and government sources.

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