Grinding My Ax Against the Innocent Pretzel

Recently, in the middle of a conversation with a friend, shockingly, I veered off subject and went into a rant into why pretzels are so stupid and gross. I was a little shocked as the vitriol started to spew so fluidly because I genuinely like pretzels. They’re good and damn versatile. They come in a ton of flavors and sizes. Hard or soft. Are great for dipping but also stand alone. Pretzels, not always needing the limelight, have made forays into supporting roles as with your Combos snacks, more on this later, or by adding a nice salty compliment to the sweetness of the always delicious Take 5 candy bar. And let’s not forget the semi-recent and delicious advent of the pretzel bun.

Pretzels do not deserve my scorn but this post and this site has never been focused on highlighting things that make me happy. This is my outlet to complain about people and things that have disappointed me and let me down and, unfortunately, the defenseless pretzel will not be immune.

The story with pretzels goes that some monk came up with the recipe, a few hundred years ago, as a reward to children for learning verses from the Bible, being good or some shit like that. There’s also some stupid crap about the shape of the pretzel being fashioned after two hands folded in prayer. Whatever. I’m not sure if that part is true but what we can be sure of is that this whole pretzel thing came about before the advent of readily available sugary sweets because no kid I know is going to rack their brain learning some twenty verse passage from Proverbs just so some creeper monk will give them a dry ass pretzel. Besides, given what’s been going down in the church world for the past decade or so, I’m not entirely comfortable with a priest handing out treats to my kids. Keep your pretzels to yourself Chester, we’ll do the memorizing at home if we so desire.

What sort of a lame ass reward is a pretzel anyway? As with any religion, Catholic or any, there is, of course, the requisite heavy focus on and motivation by guilt. Pretzels as a reward for some dumb monk’s impression of good behavior comes off as some kind of epicurean cilice wrapped around and painfully secured to the skin of my esophagus. “Good job learning that thousand word verse about how God wants to fuck up gay people or send you to hell for eating lobster. Now take this piece of salted drywall as a a sign that God may let you see another day, you pathetic mongrel sinner.”

Anywho, pretzels come in a myriad of sizes, shapes, textures and flavors and all are pretty tasty with the exception of the following:

Those hard assed things that come in a box

Ever had the occasion to eat or better yet, choke down, a Snyder’s of Hanover Sourdough Hard Pretzel? Like when you haven’t been to the grocery for a few weeks and there’s nothing else to eat but a couple of ketchup packets and an still unopened box of these cement chunks. I actually broke my tooth on one of these gems a few years ago and carry the dental crown as proof. Cereal comes in a cardboard box. Hell, lots of things come in cardboard boxes. Most food products that come in a box are also sealed in a plastic bag to stave off spoilage but because this particular brand of pretzels is made of flavorless wallpaper sizing hardened by shredded bits of old German newspapers, there is no risk. There is no way on Earth that these things could possibly get any more stale. You know what else comes in a cardboard box without a plastic liner? Shoes. Shoes don’t have a plastic liner. Laundry detergent doesn’t need a liner. And these pretzels. They need no further protection. I’m surprised there isn’t a desiccant in the box with them.

Moms everywhere will tell you not to bite your fingernails because they are made of material that is actually harder than what your teeth are made of and you risk doing damage. But go ahead and eat these pretzels that are made from busted up pieces of old driveways. That’s totally fine. Thanks Snyder’s and thank you mom for my new 900 dollar crown!

These horrible things hearken back to a day when food just sucked ass. To a day when survival took precedence over things like, say, flavor. Like the people you see in those post Civil War pictures, the ones who never smile. Little did you know that they didn’t smile back then because their teeth were all fucked up and broken from eating rocks. Why was everybody so ugly back then anyway? I can honestly say that I have never seen a picture of a women from, say, the 1920’s who I found even remotely attractive. Pick any age you like, Victorian Era? Hideous. Pre-World War I? Ugh. Movie stars of the Silent Age? They make me wish sound was invented before pictures. Just gross. It really wasn’t until after World War II that you started to see attractiveness starting to break through and while I’m not saying that these plaster clusters of dried shit are responsible for human ugliness, I do think that they are indicative of the collective physical hideous nature of humanity as a whole.

Snyder’s of Hanover Pretzel Pieces

First of all, why is every pretzel made by this Snyder consortium? They really seem to have a monopoly on the whole contorted, knot shaped snack game. Kudos to them. Here in Ohio we have a potato chip company called Snyder’s of Berlin. Are they any relation to the pretzel Snyder’s? Was there a wayward brother who frowned on the whole breaking of the public’s teeth and rebelled deciding to instead hitch his wagon to the more eatable and softer potato chip. Horrified by the way his family was systematically destroying the dental health of Americans, he decided there had to be another way to snack.

The way I heard it though, old man Snyder was a hardcore Nazi who was so distraught with the German loss in WW2 that he packed up his pretzel / drywall operation and moved it to the United States under the contingency that only members of the Aryan race would ever indulge in one of his salty twisted treats. Once entering the United States and realizing the racial melting pot he had so readily delved into, he had a heart attack and died. His gravestone is, in fact, engraved with his last miserable words, “Give me back my pretzel you Italian bastard!!” This of course is not true but it sounded good.

I am a huge fan of the Honey Mustard variety of this Snyder’s pretzel gem. These have been a mainstay on my Top 5 Salty Snack list for well over a decade. If you haven’t tried them, I highly recommend. Here’s the rub though, this bag of deliciousness is just a sack of their garbage sprayed down with a slathering of honey flavored chemicals. It’s like, at the end of the day, these Snyder’s people were wondering what to do with all of the broken pieces of pretzel and some smart guy came up with the idea of adding flavor and bagging it. I hope this guy was promoted for actually finding a way to get people to pay 3 dollars and 50 cents for the scrapings of old man Snyder’s filth.

I like those cheddar pretzel Combo things. The cheese and pretzel relationship is one forged by the gods and to have them already conjoined and readily available in a easy to open bag is an answered prayer. These, however, are the only good tasting Combos made. Why do we need pizza flavored Combos? If i want something to taste like pizza, I’ll order a pizza. I don’t need poorly copied and chemically poisoned reproductions of my favorite food in junk food form. Pizza is already junk food. Plus I don’t like the bland, white Combo sleeve they use for every other flavor besides the pretzel ones.

I feel like these white flavorless sleeves are the same things that come in a bag of Chex Mix. No one eats them but if they do, it has to come with a mouthful of the other stuff to diminish the experience of the disgusting Combo spindle tube. In Chex Mix, they are meant to be nothing more than a crunch enhancer and never as a stand alone treat so why, Combos people, would you make them a headliner in your snack playbill? I think, in order to keep costs down everything actually starts as a pretzel but Combos, Inc hire retarded people who don’t like to go out in the light to suck off the outer layer of pretzel crust to use with their other more disgusting flavors. Remember that visual the next time you eat one of those things. Bat Boy sucking on your Combo. His acidic saliva braking down all of the deliciousness.

Speaking of other flavors, are you aware that, in Japan, there are like 37 kinds of Kit-Kat candy bars? What the hell? We invented them and have only one variety. I wonder if this playing god with candy is why the Japanese people have seen the highest increase in adult onset diabetes since WW2? Like, “You know what we need? A sweeter, more palatable vehicle to deliver as much squid ink into our diets as we can tolerate. Fortunately, I happen to have just such a vehicle in mind, the Kit-Kat bar!!” The Japanese. The givers of Godzilla and the Edamame Soybean Kit Kat. Thank God.

Kit-Kats are for another day though…