First time I ever went to a mall was back in the 60’s. I hitched a ride with two of my friends who were seasoned shopping pros, and their mom. I had never seen such a thing. I was fascinated by all the stores being under one roof. With limited funds and so much to do, I was a tad bit overwhelmed. But… I forged ahead making the best of this shopping experience. It was then I discovered Hot Sam Pretzels. They had a concession and my friends stopped there to buy some SOFT pretzels. Being a Synder’s pretzel girl, born and bred… hard pretzels were all I knew. But I was willing to experiment. And the price was right, cheap. This SOFT pretzel was bigger than a hand and smothered in salt. It looked yummy, indeed. But before I could leave the kiosk, with this... new to me... bread creation, my friends insisted I slather it with mustard. I thought they were crazy as hell. “WHY,” was the question I asked. They said, “BECAUSE.” “Because why, I wondered? Turns out a soft pretzel TASTES scrumptious that way. Really, truly… it does. Technically speaking... the reason was this... according to the internet... "spreading mustard on pretzels is how people from Philly, PA eat them. This trend began in the 1920's with pretzels that were sold from hotdog stands or carts. The mustard covered up the blisters that salt forms on the surface of the dough from humidity and camouflaged the flaw." WHO KNEW? Who cares? A soft pretzel is the perfect snack food. Soft and chewy. It fills you up. It’s affordable. Can be eaten anytime, night or day. I was hooked. I became a FAN, like the rest of the world. They’re DELICIOUS. And I spent a considerable amount of my youth delighting in them. At some point though, I outgrew the snack. Time marched on and I forgot about this culinary treat. Flash forward to today. It has been years since I’ve been to a mall. Once my kids left the nest, I had no reason to grace it’s door. But that changed…. when my hubby and I…. went in search of a protective cover for his cell phone. It’s an older model. So after exhausting all other options, we headed to the mall where all the kids hang out. We figured there was bound to be a cellphone cover there. And we were right, there was. Found a GREAT deal and LAID our money down. (another story for another time) As we were heading towards the mall exit, pleased with our purchase…. I noticed an Auntie Anne’s Pretzel kiosk. A smile spread across my face... from cheek to cheek. Not a Hot Sam’s... but a PRETZEL joint of these MODERN times. We joined the long line and ordered a couple SOFT pretzels. One for mustard. And one with sweet almonds for dessert. My hubby and I grabbed a table and sat down watching mall traffic. I became awash in memories. A LOT has changed at the mall… but the taste of a SOFT pretzel remains delectable and is MONEY (dough) in the BANK for those that sell them.
(If only my old teeth could chew like they once did)
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