I was three knuckles deep into a near empty jar of salsa con queso with the last bits of my second SuperPretzel when the idea came to me to start a blog reviewing soft pretzels. It seems fitting that my first review would be of these frozen guilty pleasures in the iconic black and blue box down the freezer aisle of the local grocer.
Growing up, it was often more unusual to open the freezer door and not see a box of these quick treats staring back at you. The bright yellow logo had the classic fair-food appeal and my single-father attracted the bachelor style food fairs these pretzels so perfectly embodied.
Each box of six palm-sized frozen pretzels came with a little white baggie labeled “Pretzel Salt”. The instructions written on the side of the box were simple; pick a pretzel, wet the front with water, sprinkle on your desired amount of salt and place it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Once the timer beeps, viola! your treat was ready to eat as if straight from the oven (minus a good buttery coating but that became replicable, more on that later).
The dipping sauce became somewhat of a science. Start with a 3 tablespoon block of Velvetta brand cheese product cut into small quarter inch cubes and place it inside of a ramekin. Add a teaspoon of milk and place in the microwave on high for 15 seconds or until the cheese begins the melt. Remove and stir until the milk turns yellow and place back in the microwave in 15 second increments stirring in between until the desired temperature has been reached. Be careful not to over heat as it will burn and taste terrible.
Occasionally we would “get gourmet” with our pretzels and cheese sauce. For the cheese sauce we would add a splash of picante sauce for a kick. We would dabble into other flavor profiles like Dijon mustards, cream cheeses and hot sauces. We would gourmet the pretzel with a light brushing of melted butter or a dashing of Parmesan cheese. Even wth all of the fancy iterations we could think of, the traditional salted pretzel and cheese product remained the favorite.
So as we grew up, changed states and tax brackets, the fast snack fell off the menu. It wasn’t until I got married and my wife and I visited my mother at her house in Oklahoma for the first time that my love for these delicious bites was renewed.
Our flight got in late due to a delay so when we arrived at my mother’s house, I was starving. After placing our bags down in our room for the stay, I headed straight for the kitchen. Before I could get too far into my search my mom stopped me and said to check the freezer. When I opened the door I stepped into a TV commercial. The door opened slowly. Freezer fog billowed out and cascaded down the front of the fridge. For the reveal, the cold cloud swirled on both sides of a black and blue box centered perfectly in the freezer. The bright yellow logo jumped out and shined against the dark unlit background. There it stood, the perfect box of 6 SuperPretzel brand frozen pretzels. My sentimental mother remembered my childhood love of these delicious quick microwaveable twists.
My face lit up and I let out a gasp! My mom then asked me to look inside the pantry where I found a brand new unopened jar of salsa con queso dip. Like riding a bike, I made my pretzels without a single glance at the instructions and 30 seconds later, I was eating nostalgia.
My love for all things soft pretzel was rekindled and the flame that once seemingly burnt out, was reborn in Phoenix-like fashion. I began to seek them out on menus and research shops and restaurants that knowingly serve this bread of the gods. My insatiable appetite couldn’t be stopped!
When I last visited the grocery store, I strolled down the frozen aisle and there they were in all of their glory. Spot lights began dancing, bright lights started flashing and the black box was staring back at me. I opened the freezer door, fog billowed and the yellow logo read my name. I grabbed them in childish cast, paid the clerk and headed home…
TO BE CONTINUED…