Whenever we pass a hot pretzel stand -- no matter what time of day it is or wherever we may be -- Kenya and Chloe beg me for one. The two of them will start chanting "PLEASE" so passionately and endlessly, you'd think they were training for the Polite Olympics. Well, who can blame them. I've never met a kid who didn't love him or herself a warm, soft, doughy pretzel to tear into pieces and savor, or just teeth on, as both of my kids did starting from when they were a year old. I remember watching Chloe gum her way through a whole one (after I rubbed every speck of salt off of it!).
Now that Kenya is 5, he's starting to realize that we can make at home almost any food that he sees in the outside world. A couple of weeks ago, after Kenya spotted a pretzel place at the mall and performed his well-honed pleading calisthenics on me, I suggested to him that we make pretzels together instead. I am so happy I did.
On first glance it may seem like there are a lot of steps to this recipe, but don't let that scare you off. Each one is so easy that even a kid can do them. Stirring, mixing, kneading and rolling the dough are incredible sensory experiences for kids and are great from everything to engaging their fine motor skills to letting them experience how food can transform from one form to another. I like to set aside some of the dough for K & C so they can manipulate it themselves into knots, twists, balls and other imaginatively inspired shapes. Both of my kids were enchanted with the entire process, from making to eating, and our whole family was convinced that our homemade pretzels were just as good as what we could buy at the hot pretzel stand...not to mention much cooler looking.
As for my little ones professional pretzel pleading, it hasn't subsided. But at least it all happens at home now.