Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Inconsistent Pretzels

(Pretzels? Or dog treats? Who can say, really?)

So I made pretzels today. They are not the world's greatest pretzels; some are almost too hard to bite into, others are more like bread sticks. This inconsistency exists because I have the Absolute Worst Oven in the World. I hate my oven so much. I'd be better off with a wood stove. I'd be better off with a Bic lighter.

Anyway, now that I'm back home--yay! I'm home!--I've been feeling the urge to cook and bake and generally be domestic in a culinary sort of way. On Saturday I braved the farmers' market and bought a stewing chicken, and on Sunday I made chicken soup. It took all day, but it's the best soup I've ever had. I also made cheddar-scallion rolls with--get this--whole wheat flour from the farmers' market. Local flour! I didn't even know they made such a thing.

By the way, I have to say that I'm really enjoying the farmers' market this fall. In the summer, it's just too overwhelming for me. I go a few times to stock up on meat, but otherwise, I mostly stay away. But a month or so ago I went to see my fiddle teacher play with his band and discovered a vastly more chilled out market . That's because all the farmers sell in autumn is kale. Nobody knows what to do with kale, so they go to Whole Foods and buy tomatoes shipped in from California.

But I know what to do with kale, which is to cook it up with white beans and turkey sausage, and then feel virtuous as all get-out for eating kale.


I've been thinking about making pretzels for a while. My kids eat them by the ton, for one thing, and it's got to be cheaper to make them. Also, if I make pretzels, who knows--maybe I'll get a reputation as "that pretzel-making mom." As in, "She's so cool, she makes her own pretzels." Wouldn't that be an awesome reputation to have?

But pretzels, I fear, are in the category of baking which bagels also reside. It's the boil/bake thing, and I think to pull it off you have to have a real baker's oven. Or a real oven, period. My homemade bagels have been interesting, and chewy in a pleasant sort of way, but you'd never confuse them with real bagels.

And my pretzels? Well, you're definitely taking a risk with any expensive dental work--crowns, caps, that sort of thing. Still, for the title of "Number One Pretzel Mom," I say they're worth it. Well worth it, my friends.


Angela said...

I am SO impressed, i have never met anyone else who makes her own pretzels. Can you share your recipe please? And why are they straight? I always thought pretzels had to be that knotty shape?
Glad you like my polenta room [polenta being a shade darker than cornmeal, i think!]
blessings xx

Tracy said...

I'm the dinner roll girl. My wholemeal dinner rolls are really yummy. Silly thing is, I use the same recipe as I do for a loaf...but the kids don't complain about the rolls. Indeed they devour them.

You need to save up and replace your oven. Seriously, I've done the worst-oven-in-the-world thing and it just makes you feel like you hate cooking...even when you don't.

Tracy said...

Oh...I have lots of replies for you from your comments on my blog. Which I adore getting, because you always make me laugh. And you're almost the only one who comments anymore.

Capsicum = bell pepper. Only we would never say 'bell pepper'.

My new toy is a KitchenAid mixer. Dh found a great price and so I have a 'Cinnamon' coloured machine on its way. And I'm feeling impatient!

victoria said...

Your dog?!! More pictures of this fine creature PLEASE. I love people's pet pictures!

wayside wanderer said...

Adorable doggie! I love a soft, warm pretzel with cheesy sauce for dipping. Mmmmmm. I need a new oven, too. It hasn't behaved right ever since the fire...

GretchenJoanna said...

Oh, dear, Frances, you are inspiring me to go into the kitchen and use my wonderful new stove, when I was planning to go to the broom closet and work on some housecleaning.

I won't go into detail about the stove, but I have to say that I used to cook a lot more, and plenty of good stuff, with the old clunkers I had before.

It's really not fair for someone like me to have this stove when someone like you, with growing kids, doesn't -- but I'll try not to complain anymore about the lack of justice.

magsmcc said...

Not only are you making pretzels- you are making pretzels and blogging about making pretzels. I'm just surviving half-term- not blog-worthy AT ALL. You are that cool blogging mother who makes pretzels. I may just fade silently away now.....

Susan said...


I remember a post about a lovely lamp and the beautiful fabric you used to cover the shade. I can't remember the name of the designer of the fabric. Could you remind me of his name, please? I'm trying to plan a winter project and have been thinking that a lovely pillow by this fellow would be a great project to have on hand for when the cold days set in to stay. I'm pretty certain he makes needlepoint patterns too. Mind you, it's nearly 70 here today, but I know those temps. won't stay.

Left-Handed Housewife said...


The designer is Kaffe Fassett. He's fab!

Gumbo Lily said...

Well done, cool pretzel-making mom! You rock! If they're a little hard, just serve them with hot cocoa or coffee to dip them in! I wish I had one now.


Pom Pom said...

What a cute dog. Can he come sit on my lap? I'll give him a golden pretzel fresh out of the sack! I find the farmer's market a bit bewildering, too. Good idea to visit now that everyone is hunkering down with their wheeled buggies at the supermarket.