Yesterday’s recipe was for pretzels. Yes, that’s what we called them–still do, for that matter. But they bear no relation to any pretzel you ever saw. I did a little googling, just to see if I could find a comparable pretzel recipe, but no soap. I use the term advisedly–a significant number of pretzel recipes require that you use “food-grade lye.” Think about that. My recipe doesn’t require lye. We don’t knot the dough, but shape it into small round loaves that we bake flat on a greased cookie sheet. The dough’s actually a little sweet, and quite dense. Some misguided souls add candied fruit, which I personally loathe; I might consider adding white raisins, but that’s far enough.
Pretzels were part of our Christmas Eve tradition. Actually, Christmas Eve was a big day at our house. We set up and decorated the tree, put out the presents, finished baking and frosting all the various cookies, and then some exhausted soul would get out the big, scratched, Tupperware bowl, start the water running to get it hotted up, and begin making the pretzels.
And supper before we opened our presents was usually some form of soup (which we skipped if we could) pretzels, and hot chocolate. And then we opened our presents. Christmas Day was nothing after Christmas Eve; we usually had to spend it cutting wood to feed the woodpile. But ah, Christmas Eve, and the smell of the pretzels hot, a little sweet, and buttered, and the hot chocolate steaming on the stove; that’s Christmas.