POINT By Fiona McBree
I did a bit of research and admittedly; I was surprised at the numerous religious and historical connections pretzels hold. These virtuous findings aside, I still think pretzels are ridiculous.
Pretzels are wheat flour, water & yeast coated in…lye*. They are a hazardous, non-sweet baked good. All together now! And this time with feeling "R-I-D-I-C-U-L-O-U-S!" (spirit-fingers)
Excess moisture has been baked out of the “bagged” versions and unlike the virtuous potato chip, bagged pretzels turn into dust in your mouth *pruff* How can you tell when those suckers are stale?!
Whenever I’ve been hounded into trying the mall/state-fair “soft” version I keep asking, “Is this it?” while those around me smear mustard or sugar onto theirs in an attempt to turn them into anything other than the big, salty piece of killer-dough it really is.
High-fructose dips, chocolate or yogurt coatings do add a bit of élan to the pretzels lack of any other redeeming quality but don’t let the “knot” shape fool you. Its. Just. Dough. There’s a much better way to use extra dough. PIZZA.
*Yes, the same stuff soap & drain cleaner are made with.
COUNTERPOINT By Amy Brillhart
I love pretzels. Unadulterated crispy, crunchy, salty pretzels! When we were kids we’d pretend the logs were cigars. We wore the looped versions on our fingers as rings. The skinny sticks we mowed down with tiny bites, shoving them in lengthwise one at a time. And now I like watching my niece and nephew devouring pretzels. Are they a healthy snack? I don’t know. But my mom and my aunt Tillie gave them to us and my sister gives them them to her kids (although they are not nearly as inventive with their eating techniques as my brother and sister and I were).
Now that I’m older I eat house-made pretzels at my neighborhood bar. They serve the hot, tender, chewy knots with a grainy mustard, spicy pickles and a piece of artisanal cheese. Wash this down with a locally brewed pilsner and you’ve got dinner. I like to cook, but I doubt I could make these at home. There is an art to making a good pretzel. I’ve seen Bobby Flay and Alton Brown do it on television and a warning went off in my head, don’t try this at home. So I do resort to buying that bagged versions of crunchy goodness in a pinch. They sell gourmet pretzels at the green market they are good but expensive. Give me a bag of sourdough Pennsylvania Dutch pretzels and I’m happy. Oh, and I don’t know how you tell when they are stale they never last long enough to find out.
Do you support the Point or, Counterpoint? Please leave a comment. Thanks!