Tony Cenicola/The New York Times. Food Stylist: Molly Rundberg
I have many fond memories from the time when I was a Brownie and Girl Scout. There was the camping trips when we would sneak over to the boys camp and try to sabotage their out house. The sweet songs about friendship and my fascination with founder Juliette Gordon Low and her love for animals and sisterhood. And of course the cookies...the Samoas were so good before they tried to make them "healthy".
But one of my favorite meetings was actually at my archenemie Nadia's house, where I learned how easy it was to make delicious homemade pretzels!
Nadia was my arch nemesis because she was beautiful and popular. Those girls that I wanted to be like, but who cruelly made fun of me, or even worse, ignored me. But I remember Nadia's mom, a beautiful blonde immigrant from some Nordic country being particularly kind to me during this meeting. Maybe she knew how mean her daughter's posse could be, or maybe she was just being a good hostess for the meeting. Or maybe it was because she could tell how truly excited I was to make these pretzels.
It was the first time I realized that pretzels didn't have to be those tiny crunchy tasteless sticks. But the big salty soft twists of yumminess that I would get whenever my Dad took me to work in New York City. The first thing I did when I moved to NYC was get a pretzel from a street vendor. There was one guy I found in the 30's on the west side who could still make them taste fresh and homemade. But he disappeared in the late 90's and every street vendor since then has crushed me with their cold chewy flavorless pretzel bombs.
I guess its time for me to get back to my Girl Scout roots and make my own. Luckily the NY Times had just the recipe for me; Rye Pretzels! Perfect for this sick day and I try to remove the hobbit living in my lungs.