Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pretzels, Baseball and the All-American Pun

Homemade Soft Pretzels
A couple of weeks ago I picked up the funnest cookbook at my local library's book store. The library itself is a phenomenal resource (especially with its online features that I can use from home), but as an added bonus they have a used-book store on-site that draws me in like a magnet. The books are super inexpensive (dare I say, cheap?) and magazines are only a quarter. When shopping for fun and sport is no longer an option, it's nice to know that you can feed a shopping need with a buck fifty. So, back to the "new" cookbook I just picked up. I said funnest but I didn't mean it. I meant to say punnest. Not a word either? Too bad, it should be. I have always loved a good pun as does my family and most of my friends (groaning and eye-rolling means they like it, right?). Well, for three dollars, I hit the jackpot of all pun collections with the TBS Dinner & A Movie Cookbook. It's chock full of movie trivia, great sounding recipes, and puns, puns, puns. I don't know when I've had so much fun just reading a cookbook. 

This book has already earned a spot on my shelf just for pure entertainment value of course, but my general rule for cookbooks is "use 'em or lose 'em", so I chose the Batter-Up Ballpark Pretzels (pg. 18) to start with. The book recommends pairing these with the movie Field Of Dreams ("If you bake it, they'll say yum"), but in honor of today's World Series opener, we're going to skip the movie and eat our pretzels while listening to the big game.* And here's the exciting part (for me at least), I can make a whole dozen for less than the price of one actual ballpark-bought pretzel. That's something to cheer about. 

Soft salty pretzels are easy and fun to make**... they work kind of like bagels, where you shape them, poach them, and then bake them in the oven. There are quite a few steps, but it's all pretty relaxed and simple. And a warm and salty soft pretzel just out of the oven, dipped in spicy mustard, and washed down with a cold beverage is the perfect pairing with a classic Fall sporting event such as...oh, the Fall Classic for instance. 

Here are a few other tasty pretzels to try (and one that is truly twisted):
Want mustard on that? Check out these previous posts... Mayo & Mustard... Some Like It Hot... Summer's Last Hurrah

*Yes, listen to it... as in on a radio. How retro is that? We are so old-school it ain't even funny. 
**One word of warning: These don't keep well so they're best eaten fresh. I'm experimenting with freezing them and will update this post with my results. [UPDATE: I tried freezing before boiling, after boiling but before baking, and after baking... the results were just o.k. For best results, make and consume these fresh.]
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