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Bagels and Lox: A Love Story

Bagel and lox pix

By Carole J Stone

Most people do not know that lox did not begin as a particularly Jewish food. Salmon is, in part, a north Atlantic fish, familiar to Scandinavians and Germans. For generations it was preserved by smoking and eaten in northern Europe and the Balkans. Bagels, on the other hand, were a Polish invention, and cream cheese was actually Native American as well as early English and French.

In the early 20th century, salmon was plentiful in the US, and people began to eat it en masse. European Jews had long smoked and salted their fish and they did the same with salmon. When the Transcontinental railroad opened in 1869, salmon from the Pacific Northwest was smoked and shipped east in barrels layered with salt. A brine was created that removed the moisture, thereby preserving the salmon for months without refrigeration. The result was what is known today as “belly lox,” the traditional authentic salty salmon. Later came the bagel with a “schmear” of cream cheese.

No one really knows who brought bagels, lox, and cream cheese together. The sandwich might have originated in an early ad campaign for Philadelphia Cream Cheese. It was definitely a match made in heaven.

Today, lox, bagels, and cream cheese are available on restaurant menus everywhere.

Stop by the Jewish Cultural & Community Center, Las Moras 47 at 5 De Mayo on

Sunday, August 13, from 11am–2pm and enjoy this delicacy. The kosher-style menu also includes fresh squeezed orange juice, homemade coffee cake, and sweet rolls baked by the Shalom San Miguel “Balabustas,” served with gourmet coffee, all for only 180 pesos.

We hope to see you Sunday to meet the community and make new friends. Call: 415 185 9191 for reservations.


Bagels and Lox

Sun, Aug 13, 11am–2pm

The Jewish Cultural and Community Center

Las Moras 47, Corner of 5 De Mayo

180 pesos



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