Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pretzels with My Son, the Rock Star

A few weeks ago was the final week of "church" services before our minister's summer break, and our annual celebration of the cool people who make our fellowship function, which, once you start taking stock of what committees people are on, is pretty much everyone sitting in the pews.

There are awards, though: Angel (for someone who gives of themselves to others in the fellowship), Rock Star Youth (for someone who lives their UU values), and Rock Star Child (for general cool UUness, I think).

Well, you can imagine my surprise when they arrived at the child award this year and called I's name.  S. and I looked at each other, our jaws on the floor.  Really?  Our child?  Sure, he's a happy kid, but it's not like he's baking pies to raise money for the homeless or anything (as one child actually did last year ... no lie).

But really, truth is, he's a good kid.  They talked about how he always has a smile for everyone, and makes people feel happy and at home.  That's true; in fact, it's been true since he was a baby.  And though I will take partial credit for who he is becoming, I also suspect that a lot of it is hard-wired.  I've neglected him in this blog lately, but really, without him being who he is, I would be a lot less sane right now.  No, he's not an angel.  (See the mischievous twinkle in his eye?)  But he's a doting big brother (his sister adores him, and clearly thinks that he walks on water), and when he does listen to directions, he's pretty agreeable.  He says things that are funny as hell, and more insightful than many adults I've known.  He stands up for himself most of the time, in a way that is gentle but firm.  He's a follower, but he can also be a leader.  And when I finally recovered from hearing his name called from the podium, my heart swelled with pride.

I. often likes to help in the kitchen (and has been known to take pictures of his food recently, claiming that he's going to post them to my blog.  Then he deletes them from his camera.  Nut.).  Last week we made soft pretzels, as a means of keeping the neighbor's kid entertained for 20 minutes during the day while we were taking care of him.  Though his friend had a hard time sitting still for the activity and it's probably more frustrating than I realized to work with pretzel dough the first time around, I. really did beautifully.  I'm picturing him here, showing off his "house," which no longer has any doors or windows because they got eaten.  Actually, it doesn't have much of a foundation any more, either.  But who's looking that closely?

If you have little people in your life, whether they live with you or not, this is a great activity for rainy days or hot days when you're stuck indoors (yes, I know, I shouldn't be turning on my oven on hot days, because my air conditioning works harder, sapping energy from the grid, etc. etc. ... trust me, this is not an every day occurrence).  And if you don't know any little people, it's still fun to play with the dough as an adult; it can take a pretty good beating, and it's not as temperamental as a loaf of bread.  The nice thing about this recipe is that you don't even have to wait for the dough to rise ... which can be difficult for people with a short attention span (no matter how old you are)!

Soft Pretzels

1 T. active dry yeast
1 ½ c. warm water
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
4 c. flour
1 egg, beaten
kosher salt for sprinkling

Dissolve yeast into water.  Add in sugar and salt, mix well. Slowly add in 4 cups of flour. Mix and knead well for about 5 to 10 minutes. Add flour as needed to reduce stickiness.  The dough is finished when it is smooth and elastic. Now you can begin shaping pieces of the dough.  Place on a cookie sheet covered in parchment and/or lightly sprayed with old, brush with beaten egg* and sprinkle with salt.  Bake at 425 for 15 minutes or so until golden brown.

*you can also dip pretzels in a baking soda bath (½ cup hot water and 1 ½ tablespoon of baking soda), which is a nice option if you're vegan.
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  1. Yay for I. What amazing news! It must be so wonderful for your child to be recognized like that. Thank you for sharing some of his with us as well.

    And thanks for the pretzel recipe. I ADORE hot pretzels.

  2. That's wonderful! Kudos to you mom! And I can't wait to try out the recipe!

  3. Well done I! I can just imagine the pride you would have felt. I sounds very similar to my C.

  4. What a heartswell of pride you must have for your little guy!! And, those pretzels...I have a REAL weakness for pretzel (esp. the choc dipped kind...)

  5. What a star he is! So cute. I used to make pretzels like this when I taught preschool (lifetimes ago) and it was always a hit. Kids love this, and love eating what they make. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. Congratulations I! I'm so happy that you all had that lovely surprise. And you're right...I DO see a bit of mischief in those eyes! I've never made pretzels before...I think I'd like to try it!

  7. Congratulations to I! Amazing.

    And I will most definitely try these pretzels with O - he and I love them. I'm happy that there's an alternative to the egg brush, too, since he's allergic. Thanks so much for sharing. :)


  8. What an amazing little guy! You must be very proud.

  9. That sounds like so much fun (even if it is heating up the house!). Congratulations to your son!

  10. He is a-freakin'-dorable.

  11. Aw! He looks like a Gap Kids model! So cute :) And how wonderful that he was publicly recognized like that...

    Those pretzels look delicious. It's so hot right now that I'm not cooking much (we don't have A/C) but I'd love to give them a try when it cools down.

  12. Awww, congrats!!! Such a cutie and he sooo has your smile. And wow oh wow does that recipe look delicious.

  13. OH YUM!!! And congratulations to your Rock Start! :-D

  14. congrats to I! well done kiddo & well done mom & dad! :)

  15. Congratulations! He is a cutie.

    I love pretzels and have not made them in years, what am I thinking?

  16. Many, many congrats to I! That is a huge compliment! I know you must be so proud of him =D

    That pretzel recipe looks awesome! Can't wait to try it out.

  17. Congrats to I! That's sweet - and someone that generous and welcoming and warm to others...yeah, a lot of it is hard-wired. But an awful lot of it is down to nurture.

  18. haha, he's so cute and so lovely. I try to make pretzels sometimes,but failed in everytime. My mom always chatter because of this.


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