Soft Pretzels 2: The Saga Ends

I promised more pretzels, and more pretzels you’ll get. At many an auspicious mall kiosk can one find the other sort of soft pretzel, those that hearken back to the clasped praying hands we discussed back in Pretzels 1. This time, I didn’t have to hunt too far at all to get my buttery bounty — the Reading Terminal Market offers it in spades. Miller’s Twist, located in the unofficial ‘Pennsylvania Dutch’ corner of the market, offers beautiful, buttery pretzels for a convenient price. It’s difficult not to hand over five dollars and a quarter for not only a pretzel, but a milkshake, too.

It’s soft, it’s buttery, it’s salty, and it complements the chocolate milkshake in my other hand perfectly.  There’s just enough pretzel there that eating most of it feels like enough, and then, inevitably, two minutes later when you’re hungry again, the remaining pretzel has you covered.

millers

Sometimes, you gotta plate your pretzel.

Of the two soft pretzel varieties, I think this is my favorite. I can’t eat it as often as I could eat the figure-eight variety, but the quality of the Miller’s Twist product more than measures up with the quantity of the Man With A Shopping Cart product.

 

 

 

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Soft Pretzels, Part One.

You’re heading into Veterans Stadium, maybe stopping here and there at friendly tailgates, bastions of red-and-white among the camps of foreign colors. Your goal, though, is the gates, old and proud. On the way, you pass by someone pushing a grocery cart (that you’re sure they must own) filled to bursting with golden-brown 8’s. Three of them for a dollar almost seems like stealing, They get slapped into a brown-bag, and it almost seems like you have something illegal. Reaching into the bag, they feel oddly wet, and salt falls off in your grip but there’s so much of it that it doesn’t matter. The taste is difficult to describe positively: like damp cardboard, but delicious.

The origins of pretzels, or so says hazy, fourth-grade memory, goes back to somewhere in Middle Ages Europe where a Christian monk wanted to reward the kids under his tutelage for knowing their prayers, so he shaped some dough into the shape of clasped hands and baked it.

Once more the workmanlike spectre of the Pennsylvania Dutch casts its shadow over this deeply informative blog, as in the late 18th century, southern German and Swiss German immigrants introduced the pretzel to North America. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the soft pretzel became popular — particularly, the S-shaped soft pretzel, often found hand-in-hand with spicy brown mustard. So often sold on the street, the big S became iconic in Philly.

8Pretz

In all of its salty glory.

It tastes pretty good, too. I don’t go to as many sporting events as I did when I was young, but I attended a recent Drexel basketball game in the hopes of scoring. Scoring a pretzel. That’s about the extent of my sports-related humor. Anything more will just be along the lines of…TOUCHDOWN! This pretzel is good!

Remember The Pretzels.

The Silver Pretzel Playbook.

A slam dunk, but with pretzels.

Anyway, my efforts were rewarded! There was indeed a vendor pulling around a shopping cart that I am positive he owned, filled to the top with milk crates bulging with figure-eight goodness. I handed over two bucks, and got four pretzels back for it.

Rose tinted glasses, for once, proved to be correct. I can’t exactly drill down on the exact flavors of the pretzel, but it is filling, it is salty, and it is gone before I realize it. Maybe I’m underselling it, because it’s not exactly world-changing flavor, but it was a pleasant thing to put in my mouth.

Now, in what may prove to be a first for We’re Off To See The Whizzard, I’ll need to come back around to review the other type of soft pretzel — the type more commonly seen in malls, sold by some absent, but ever-watching Auntie. There’s too much sodium in this post to continue, so tune in later for more on this Pennsylvania Dutch style of soft pretzels.

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