Pretzels & Poetry

by Tray Taylor
IG: @allusiontoreality

Let me start off by saying, I know I can’t be the only one who has felt topsy-turvy over the past few weeks.

This year I have been allowing myself to feel those kinds of feelings, but I am regretful that my weekly blog posting has suffered because of it.

I’m keeping it short, simple, and savory today.

A friend of mine that I used to coach with has been baking a lot of scrumptious things and recently she went on a soft pretzel baking spree. I love a good soft pretzel – anytime, anywhere. So seeing her post these delicious homemade ones made me curious to attempt to bake them myself.

I love to bake, but mostly cookies and cakes. So, I had never purchased yeast before and I didn’t know where I was supposed to find it in the grocery store (full disclosure I truly thought you had to go to some sort of organic or hipster grocery store to find it – go ahead laugh, I know.)

Thankfully my friend did not judge my ignorance and told me I could find packets of yeast in the baking aisle of a grocery store (this was my complete duh moment, but still forever grateful for her help in upping my adulting points.)

Shout out to the pretzel bites in the back because I dropped half the dough for what was supposed to be a sixth pretzel…

They turned out decent for my first attempt … except mine were thicker than expected. If you’re interested these are the ingredients I used (some modifications due to recommendation):

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
4 cups of flour
3 tablespoons of oil, divided
1/3 cup of baking soda
2 eggs, beaten
Sea Salt to top them off
(because I couldn’t find coarse salt)

The rest of the steps can be found on Tasty through this link.

And I would like to end this post today with a poem that pops back into my mind every year around the holiday season. A good friend of mine shared it with me and I am forever grateful she did – so this is my gift to my readers, to pass it on to you all in hopes that you too appreciate it.

“I Invite My Parents to a Dinner Party” by Chen Chen
found on Poets.org

In the invitation, I tell them for the seventeenth time
(the fourth in writing), that I am gay.

In the invitation, I include a picture of my boyfriend
& write, You’ve met him two times. But this time,

you will ask him things other than can you pass the
whatever. You will ask him

about him. You will enjoy dinner. You will be
enjoyable. Please RSVP.

They RSVP. They come.
They sit at the table & ask my boyfriend

the first of the conversation starters I slip them
upon arrival: How is work going?

I’m like the kid in Home Alone, orchestrating
every movement of a proper family, as if a pair

of scary yet deeply incompetent burglars
is watching from the outside.

My boyfriend responds in his chipper way.
I pass my father a bowl of fish ball soup—So comforting,

isn’t it? My mother smiles her best
Sitting with Her Son’s Boyfriend

Who Is a Boy Smile. I smile my Hurray for Doing
a Little Better Smile.

Everyone eats soup.
Then, my mother turns

to me, whispers in Mandarin, Is he coming with you
for Thanksgiving? My good friend is & she wouldn’t like

this. I’m like the kid in Home Alone, pulling
on the string that makes my cardboard mother

more motherly, except she is
not cardboard, she is

already, exceedingly my mother. Waiting
for my answer.

While my father opens up
a Boston Globe, when the invitation

clearly stated: No security
blankets. I’m like the kid

in Home Alone, except the home
is my apartment, & I’m much older, & not alone,

& not the one who needs
to learn, has to—Remind me

what’s in that recipe again, my boyfriend says
to my mother, as though they have always, easily

talked. As though no one has told him
many times, what a nonlinear slapstick meets

slasher flick meets psychological
pit he is now co-starring in.

Remind me, he says
to our family.

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