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You've probably heard that pretzels were invented by a monk in the early dark ages - to reward children for learning their lessons - and fashioned to symbolize arms folded in prayer. But there's no real proof of that, and besides, that's not the reason I love pretzels. As with all things food and drink, for me to key inducement is they taste great and/or are good for you, in some combination.
Now, I like my popcorn and potato chips, too, and will probably be posting little reflections on them, here, sooner or later, but the the fact that I'm writing about pretzels first may tell you something.
And of all the many pretzels, there is one kind that I hold high above all others: the Pennsylvania Dutch extra dark, with low sodium, if possible.
The Dutch actually is comes from Deutch, as in German, and with Pennsylvania in front of it we're talking about the Amish and their brethen who live near Lancaster, as well as Ohio and other places with farms. My family and I have had more than a handful of unique, once-in-a-lifetime food from that area - strawberries that we picked, apricots which had just been picked from a nearby tree - these were the best we ever ate, and remind me to write about them, if I don't soon.
We first saw the dark PA Dutch pretzels in the Bird-in-Hand Farmer's Market a few miles east of Lancaster. We loved them, bought at least a dozen bags to bring back home to New York, and did that for several years, increasing the number of bags each time. That Farmer's Market is open all year around, and also has some great cheeses and other goodies, and one or two times we even drove there in the winter to get our pretzels.
But the bag I have in front of me was purchased in a Mrs. Green's on Central Avenue in Westchester. It's not the same company that made the Bird-in-Hand bags - this one is "Happy Herbert's" - but the pretzels are just as good.
Crisp, the surface has the just the right resistance, and the inside tastes and feels just right on your tongue. So good, you won't even want to dilute the experience by putting the pretzel in a dip. Plus, they're great for watching your favorite television, which can be good for you, too.
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