A guy in Washington D.C. posted on his Twitter account earlier this week that he had taken some bagels to work and “introduced my coworkers to the St Louis secret of ordering bagels bread sliced.”
Two days later St. Louis was a trending topic on Twitter and it seemed everyone was debating about, or poking fun at it.
The post got over 3,200 retweets and 24,000 likes by Friday.
Being from St. Louis, naturally, my first question was, “Where did this guy go to high school?”
No matter where you’re from, whatever town or city you identify as home, each one is a little different and a little wacky. There’s different traditions or things people say that only people from there know about.
We have them here.
When asked what she thought they would be, my wife, a lifelong resident of Poplar Bluff, couldn’t think of any but joked right-hand turns from the left lane.
Driving is certainly provincial. In many places left-turn signals at intersections will have a yield light so that when there’s no traffic coming in the opposite direction, a driver can make the turn instead of waiting for the arrow. Of course, some places don’t allow right turns on a red light and traffic that created the term “road rage.”
Many times we don’t recognize our quirkiness until we leave. I thought everyone told jokes on Halloween before getting candy. (Apparently in St. Louis they make you work for it.) My wife thought the Grand March at prom was a thing everywhere.
Still, small towns and big cities have a lot more in common.
My wife is amazed at how my family in St. Louis will debate the best route to take to any place in town. She gets so many different ways, she ends up getting confused and having to use GPS. Meanwhile, she and I will debate how best to avoid Westwood Blvd. and the fastest way to get downtown — Pine, Vine or Main streets.
The high school question is a St. Louis thing, and many times it’s asked, “what school did you go to?” Someone from anywhere else in the world might take that as a question of which college did you attend.
Here we may ask who’s your kin?
Having not remembered seeing or hearing about bread-sliced bagels growing up in St. Louis, perhaps our tweeting transplant was from another part of the Lou. Nope, he went to Webster Groves, on the other side of old Route 66 from where I grew up.
The tweet also divided America once again as #bagelgate started trending with people for and against it.
It may seem odd to slice a bagel like a loaf of bread, but it’s a very Midwestern thing to do. It allows others to share and the ability to spread toppings over more area. We here in the Midwest like toppings.
Like the gooey butter cake or toasted ravioli, also St. Louis foods, this was probably a happy accident, fate meeting a bread slicer like Provel cheese on a thin-crust pizza, pork shoulder cuts swimming in a tomato-based, beer-spiked sauce and the first time someone held a concrete (the dessert) upside down.
There are also a lot of things only found in St. Louis — other than Busch Stadium — but that’s true for Memphis, Little Rock, Springfield, Mo. and any other place.
So this summer when heading to St. Louis for a Cardinals game, remember the proverb, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” and if you want an extra piece of candy at my house on Halloween you better have a joke.
Brian Rosener is the editor of the Daily American Republic. He went to Lindbergh High School and thinks the Cardinals could be very good this year if the pitching holds up and bats avoid longterm injuries.