January 29, 2009

The Road To Hell Is Paved With White Bread

There are two things I love: salt and empty carbs.

Actually, there are three things I love: salt, empty carbs and Catherine. The order of which is directly related to my blood sugar level at any given time.

I've been thinking a lot about the Beatles lately and, all these years later, I've finally come to realize that they were wrong: love is not all you need. Sure, love is important, love is good. When you're laying on your death bed, you do realize that the love you take is equal to the love you make (ok, I'll give them that one). But if love were all you needed in this life, there would be no such thing as food. And that is why, on my list of loves, Catherines position fluctuates from time to time, sometimes before salt and empty carbs, sometimes after.

I come from a family that has it's fair share of obsessive qualities. For goodness sakes, of the 16 of us, there are about 12 of us who run, bike and/or race triathlon. We are a whole gaggle of Type A's wrapped in a Type B family photo album. As for the remaining non-running/biking/swimming family members, most of them are under the age of five years old so they probably don't count in this tally anyway.

We're obsessive and I'm no different. I like to think I'm different, but I'm wrong. I'm not. When I find something I'm passionate about, I dive in with all my limbs and learn learn learn until I know as much as I possibly can on that topic. Combine this insatiable appetite with an unhealthy addiction to salt and empty carbs, and what you've got is one freak of nature. Which brings us to pretzels.

Let's face facts, when it comes to salt and empty carbs there is no food that better represents perfection than the pretzel. There is absolutely nothing nutritious about pretzels, hence the "empty carb" moniker. However, those little twisted wonders sure can fill the emptiness inside. I love me the pretzels. And the pizza. And the crackers. And the popcorn. Especially the popcorn. But it's the pretzels that hold the near and dear place in my heart - and in my blood pressure.

If pretzels were a woman, I'd be getting a restraining order. That's the type of love I have for them. I've been studying pretzels for most of my adult life. (And when I say "studying," I mean "eating.") If empty carbs were a university, I'd have a PhD in Pretzel. I am a Master of Pretzel. A Pretzellier, if you will. I can give you detailed analysis of the different products, the different manufacturers, different brands, different consistencies, colors, shapes and tastes. I can tell you a good pretzel from a bad pretzel without even having to put it in my mouth. Hell, I don't even have to pop open the bag. I will tell you the subtle tastes, the weighting of salt, the chewability and the crunch-factor. I will tell you if the pretzel is better with cheese or mustard - dijon or French's. I will recommend to you whether the pretzel will be better complimented with peanut butter or with ice cream. Yes. Ice cream.

Like a true connoisseur, I no longer buy my pretzels from the supermarket where all the common folk shop. I turn my nose on those pretzelite neophytes. P-shaw. No, no, I mail order my pretzels from a small independent factory in Pennsylvania. I imagine it's run by a mother, father and their three children. They're probably Amish. They travel in a horse buggy and don't own a phone. All they do is make pretzels - it's their life calling. They have perfected the pretzel after generations of trial and error. They have studied and refined their art and through pounds of yeast and seas of salt, they have figured out how to make the perfect pretzel.

There is love in those pretzels, you can taset it from the first bite. And that is why I have my pretzels shipped to me from 3,000 miles away.

Of course, sometimes I just can't wait for them to arrive. Like a true addict, I sometimes just need a fix. I need my fill. I rush out of my place in a frenzy. I must get to the store. I need to feed this beast inside of me. I storm into the market, sneak out a box of Hanover's and hide away in a dark corner eating furiously, monstrously. I may even get bags of Nutzels and devour them like a rabid squirrel. More, I'll say as crumbs fall from the corner of my mouth. MORE, I'll demand as I shove handfuls of crunchy-heaven into my face. I WANT MORE! GIVE ME MORE! MORE! MORE! MORE!!

* * *

I'm trying to eat healthy these days. I haven't had a pretzel in 24 days, 8 hours and 3 minutes.

....4 minutes....

I'm trying to take it one day at a time but it's really difficult. It mocks me. It taunts me. I don't want more vegetables. I don't want another goddam salad. I DON'T WANT ANY TOFU FOR GOODNESS SAKES AND GET THOSE GODFORSAKEN SOYBEANS OUT OF MY FACE!!!

Seriously, I think I need some help.


cat. said...

hmmmm... you failed to mention how, like any good addict, you have fallen prey to addiction transference.

that *was* a crumpled potato chip bag i saw in the garbage, wasn't it?

Andra Sue said...

Sturgis pretzels, by any chance? From Reading, PA? If so, you DO know what you're doing. :)

Oh, and prezels + ice cream? Best childhood treat EVER. Have you had a prezel cone? Mmmm.

Lee said...

so - is Andra Sue correct?
I'm married to a pretzel addict and want to get him a fix for his b day.
please let us know

j. said...

No, it's not Sturgis. My love is really Martin's Pretzels. I've been eating Martin's for many years. Apparently somebody at Food TV discovered them recently. Uh-oh. http://www.martinspretzels.com/

BTW, Martin's used to have only 4 options for purchasing their pretzels: 3lb bag (broken or unbroken) or a 5lb bag (broken or unbroken). Over the past years they changed from large bags of pretzels to individually wrapped small bags. You still order by the pound, but instead of one big bag you get lots of small ones. It's a bit of a bummer, but it keeps the pretzels fresh.

Andra Sue said...

Wait a minute here. I smell a blasphemer. Martin's is in NEW YORK CITY!!! (Picture Pace Picante Sauce commercial voice here.) And everyone knows that's not where proper pretzels come from. They are strictly from Pennsylvania! :)

j. said...

First of all, Andra Sue, your comment got lost in my emails so it took far too long to post. Which really affects me more than it affects you because now nobody is going to read my reply. So let's get on with it anyway.

You are correct, Martin's pretzels ARE from NY. and the URL I gave above (www.MartinsPretzels.com) is, in fact, a NY based company. HOWEVER, it is not the Martin's Pretzel's that I get. Which is probably why I was so shocked at the Food TV thing when I found the site.

As we both agree, the only real pretzels come from Pennsylvania. And the ORIGINAL Martin's Pretzels are the cream of the crop. Straight from the middle of Amish country, hand made for the past 65 years. You can buy them in 3lb or 8lb boxes, salted, not salted or burnt (I prefer the 3lb, burnt).


Thanks for catching me on that!