Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pretzels

I got a few responses from my solicitation of blog post ideas: our cat Rolo, the blog itself, and pretzels. Pretzels it is! (By the way, I've written about the cat before, although that post was more about pets in general than Rolo specifically. The most interesting thing about that post was the rather harsh comment by someone named "April". Did my ex-girlfriend April actually leave that comment herself, or was it an imposter? I think some mysteries are better left unsolved.)

So, yeah...pretzels. I eat them, and I enjoy them.

Oh, you want more? Okay. :) I estimate that Amber and I, between the two of us, go through between two and three pounds of pretzels per month. The national per person average, according to Wikipedia, is 1.5 pounds of pretzels per year. I guess that makes us above-average pretzel eaters. And then some!

Pretzels come in many shapes, sizes, and varieties, of course. And, really, they're all good. Soft pretzels? Yum! I get one almost every time I go to a baseball game. Sourdough pretzels? Yum! I rarely eat sourdough pretzels, though, because it doesn't seem worth the calorie intake. (I think typical sourdough hard pretzels have something like 80 calories each pretzel.) But while I highly enjoy both of those varieties, the vast majority of pretzels I eat are the traditional thin kind.

But even then, there are still many different varieties to choose from. Mini-twists? Large twists? Thin sticks? The waffle kind (i.e. snaps)? However do we choose? I've eaten plenty of all four of those varieties, and I'll buy any of the four at the store depending on my mood. But I think I buy the thin sticks most often, followed by the mini-twists, snaps, and large twists. I tend to get the most mileage out of a bag of sticks. Since indivdual pieces are thin and small, a pound of think sticks takes longer to eat than a pound of any of the other varieties. And I think that's the best thing with pretzels: they have a low calorie-per-minute ratio is low. (As in, it takes longer to consume X number of calories while eating pretzels than it does eating, say, cookies.) I can spend 15 minutes eating pretzels and not really feel like I pigged out. 15 minutes of chocolate chip cookies, on the other hand...not so much.

Let's talk brands. Rold Gold is the most prominent pretzel brand, but I don't like them. I think people just eat Rold Gold pretzels because they're available practically everywhere. Quite frankly, I don't think they're that good. And yet, they have a significant market share. I think the reason Rold Gold has such a large market share is because they're part of snack conglomerate Frito-Lay, not because the pretzels themselves are good. I have to wonder if Frito-Lay's retailing contracts go something like this: "Sure, you can sell our more popular snacks - Lays, Fritos, Doritos, Cheetos, Ruffles, Tostitos, and so on - but only if you also agree to sell our crappy pretzels!"

Some places I've been, Rold Gold pretzels were the only pretzels available - for instance, in Canada. We've had a lot of trouble during our Canadian road trips finding non-Rold Gold pretzels. Pretzels must not be as big a thing in Canada as they are in the United States.

I admit I haven't sampled all that many different pretzel brands, but my favorite pretzel brand is Snyder's of Hanover. Pretzels are a type of food where you can get away with the generic brand, and Kroger pretzels are certainly good enough, but I think Snyder's pretzels are worth the extra money. Amber, on the other hand, actually prefers Kroger brand pretzels over Snyder's of Hanover due to the salt content. Snyder's of Hanover pretzels don't have a whole lot of salt. They have just enough. The pretzels themselves taste good enough, they don't need salt. Kroger's pretzels, on the other hand, probably wouldn't taste as good if not for all that salt. They probably use salt as a masking agent.

Hmm...I think I'll go have some Snyder's of Hanover pretzels right now!

3 comments:

Aluvendale said...

Bravo! Bravo!

maplestar said...

I think you're right on pretzels not being as popular in Canada.

Before I moved down here, I associated pretzels solely with the small twists, usually stale. And so I didn't think much of them. Almost every other form of pretzel I've tried since I've moved to Virginia, I've loved.

I think it's literally "they don't know what they're missing."

Spartangoogle said...

If you need to avoid salt which is really hard to do if you eat any prepared foods, Snyder's is the best choice. I used to get Publix Unsalted Twists but cannot get them anymore. Evidently most people feel pretzels without salt are not really pretzels.