In 2019, Eater Young Gun Christina Nguyen (’14) of Hai Hai in Minneapolis espoused on the glory of Everything But the Bagel seasoning from Trader Joe’s, a combination of sesame seeds, garlic, onion, salt, and poppy seeds that becomes a delicious impetus to floss. “I think that any opportunity to make anything into an everything bagel is always good,” she said, and listed everything she’s put it on so far — hummus, avocado, roasted vegetables, pita. By the time she praised it, Everything Bagel “spice” was a bonafide trend, lacing pastries, pizza, and wings at restaurants around the country, and plenty of other things in the privacy of homes.
It’s probably not surprising then that Jeni’s Ice Cream is rolling out an Everything Bagel flavor. It’s not even the first ice cream company to do so — Pretty Cool Ice Cream in Chicago released one in a collab with Steingold’s Deli, as did Ice & Vice and Kossar’s Bialy’s in New York. But Jeni’s is a household name now, and their Everything pint, which is “Buttery streusel laden with sesame, poppy seeds — and yes, onions and garlic — woven throughout subtly sweet cream cheese ice cream,” will be available in grocery stores around the country.
While Jeni’s has a history of “weird” flavors, combining dried garlic and ice cream threw Eater staffers for a loop. Some of us immediately hated it. Some of us, desperate for a new feeling after months in relative isolation, were ready. Below, a smattering of reactions on whether we would or wouldn’t:
I’m inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt. Cream cheese ice cream is good, and even garlic ice cream has been known to be good, so if they use a cream cheese ice cream base and tame the garlic enough to bring bring out its sweetness, then it could possibly work? — Rebecca Marx, senior editor
It’s exhausting to even think about whether or not this would taste good. Look, I love everything bagels, and everything bagel seasoning, but this is an objectively terrible development. Not every trendy ingredient needs to be iterated into every possible product and sold to us as a fun quirky new way of enjoying it. — Hillary Dixler Canavan, restaurant editor
I do think that I would generally get down with the premise, but I just don’t think I could ever reconcile the salt-garlic combo with the sweetness of an ice cream. Basically, I don’t hate it on principle, but I do have some major doubts. — Brooke Jackson-Glidden, editor, Eater Portland
I have enjoyed everything donuts and see this as a natural extension of that combo. Would try. — Nicholas Mancall-Bitel, editorial associate
Execution is key — a good version balances creaminess with the “spice” texture and isn’t too sweet. I’ve enjoyed Pretty Cool’s rendition, but a blended pint like Jeni’s is more daunting than an ice cream bar. — Naomi Waxman, Reporter, Eater Chicago
I think it’s fine and I would like to try it. — Jenny Zhang, staff writer
I think it’s important to note Jeni’s appears to be conflating everything spice with everything bagels; [they’re] employing the former but calling it the latter. Common sense tells me they probably aren’t the first people to make this error but they compound it by committing to the cheese but not the bread, the presence of buttery streusel notwithstanding. Assuming one wouldn’t eat a pile of cream cheese with everything spices out of a bowl, why would they omit the bread here? I’m not trying to be facetious; I think this is an important point: an everything bagel is a product of spices interacting with toasty and slightly malty bread. If you took rock salt and put it ice cream you wouldn’t call it salt bagel ice cream, would you? I feel like this is yet again a company failing to contextualize a delicious regional foodstuff in this wanton act of bagel erasure. Okay, maybe I’m being a bit facetious. But my argumentation isn’t wrong. — Ryan Sutton, chief food critic, Eater NY
I do not know whether this is Good or Bad but I do know that I will be trying to recreate this tonight with the jar of Everything Crunch from Baz Bagels that is currently sitting in my pantry. — Erika Adams, reporter, Eater NY
Everything bagel spice is the pumpkin spice of 2021 and if that makes you happy, I’m happy for you, I guess. — Meghan McCarron, special correspondent
I was typing out something scornful but then I thought about it and… I actually think maybe this would be delicious?? idk anymore!!! I’m upset with myself. — Elazar Sontag, staff writer
I would rather be thrown into a lake than eat too-soft ice cream with frozen shards of burnt garlic and salt — Amy McCarthy, editor, Eater Dallas/Eater Houston
So there you have it! Fuck if we know! But perhaps now we can stop putting everything bagel seasoning on, literally, everything. (Okay, Ben & Jerry’s will probably do this in a year, but then we can be done, right?)