Washington Post food columnist Tim Carman found this nugget in the Joe Bastianich memoir, Restaurant Man:
There is no doubt that I invented the “everything bagel.” … This is where stoner mentality meets Restaurant Man’s instinct to be cheap and find ways to use [expletive] you would normally throw out in order to innovate and create a superior product.
When you bake bagels, first you boil them, then you put them on wooden slats, and then you blast them with whatever is their destiny in life: poppy seeds, sesame seeds, that weird onion [expletive], whatever. Underneath the slats is like a big metal trough that catches everything that doesn’t stick to the bagel, which quickly becomes a mess of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, that weird onion [expletive], and everything else. You can see where this is going. One stoned day your newly minted bagel baker was just stoned enough to see the future—and voila, everything bagels. Thank you.
Except, as Carman points out, others have claimed to have invented the “Everything Bagel,” as far back as at least 1977. And we may never know who did it first, just as we will never know who invented the hamburger—was it in Wisconsin or Connecticut or during a World’s Fair? (I personally eliminate Connecticut since the place that makes the claim—Louis’ Lunch in New Haven—concocted, in fact, a patty melt, which I consider distinct from a burger.)