Photo by bhofack2 on iStock

They're usually shaped like hearts, which seems appropriate since I'm in love with them. Always have been, always will be. And I'm an equal opportunity pretzel lover, enjoying both soft and hard ones, although I admit I'm partial to a hot, straight out of the oven, pretzel. Which is why when I visited the Farmer's Market in Philadelphia (Pennsylvania is the pretzel-making capital of America) a few years ago, it was like pretzel nirvana, although I refuse to publicly admit how many soft pretzels I ate that day.

So, how do I explain my pretzel obsession? I'm not sure I can, although one of my earliest memories of New York City (Black and I grew up on Long Island, about a 35-minute train ride from the City) is of the soft pretzels sold on almost every street corner. Depending on the vendor, the outside can be soft or crunchy, different amounts of salt, and sometimes cold, sometimes warm, yet rarely hot. But always huge and satisfying. And although I've tried various topping, I prefer mine straight up, hold the mustard. (On the rare occasion Black eats a pretzel, she even rubs off all the salt!)

Black would be more than happy to explain the business reasons behind the introduction of hard pretzels, but I'm more interested in taste testing pretzel shapes such as pretzel crisps, which are perfect for people who prefer thinner pretzels but not sticks. But my all-time favorite hard pretzel was introduced to me by a good friend (thank you, Bernie!) and is aptly named Unique product, Pretzel Shells. They're hollow, light, and extremely crunchy. But be warned! It's almost impossible to have just a handful.

However, I can't think about pretzels without remembering the "pretzels in the pantry" story,

Several years ago, Black and I were working from her beautifully decorated high-rise when I became hungry, so went into her pantry. It's truly magazine-worthy, as everything's in matching clear canisters (it's like an ad for The Container Store) with food artistically displayed based on their colors and textures. (No, I'm not kidding!) And before Black could stop me, I scooped up a handful of pretzels, and as I began munching on them there was a sickening taste and one word immediately came to mind … RANCID! Only Black would think of pretzels as a decorative item.

So why all this reminiscing about pretzels? Well, it's National Pretzel Day! And although I could easily commemorate the day by simply grabbing a bag of pretzels from my pantry or venturing out to my local mall to get a fresh soft pretzel, I'm considering doing something I've never done,

I love pretzels. I love to bake. Yet I've never tried to make soft pretzels. So, what better way to celebrate National Pretzel Day? Although, I admit I'm a little hesitant. Not because they may not turn out good, but because they may turn out too good! Because, to a pretzel lover like me, a tray of freshly baked, hot, soft pretzels that could be devoured in the privacy of my home would be just too much of a temptation to pass up.
Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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I can’t believe it’s already May, which means hot and humid weather is just around the corner. All I can say is … ugh.

Black's Head Black

Not a scientific term, but descriptive nonetheless. And, I hate to break the news to you, but the science of climate change and global warming means summers will keep getting hotter.

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I can remember growing up in New York and summers being hot, but not like now. Of course, it didn’t help that Mommy didn’t run the air conditioning until it got into the 90s.
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Photo by Epiximages on iStock

Black's Head Black

I appreciate that bullet points may not be the typical approach to Mother’s Day, but it seems appropriate to me …
  • Be sensitive to those people whose mothers may no longer be with us, especially given how many have been lost to COVID
  • If you have lost a mother, remember they are always with you – in your heart and in your memories
  • Remember Mother’s Day also includes all those “unofficial moms” and “mother figures” who are like second (or replacement) moms
  • And, last but not least, If you’re a mom, try to enjoy the day by doing something for yourself, as today may be the one day you can get away with it

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This year I write about Mother’s Day with a heavy heart and still much raw emotion, as our mom passed in December. My pragmatic side (yes, that’s usually Black’s area although she did sound somewhat warm and fuzzy above) knows that she had been 94 and led a full life, but that really doesn’t make it any less sad or fill the emptiness. But I find myself, when I least expect it and triggered by the most unexpected things, finding comfort in wonderful memories. And although Black’s first bullet point hits too close to home for me, I’ll try my best to focus on the other bullets.

Wishing all moms a very Happy Mother’s Day!

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

At speaking engagements, Black will often ask, “Who likes math?” followed by, “Who likes money?” As you can imagine, a lot more hands go up in the air for the second question than the first. But imagine if she asked if money made them laugh. It’s probably safe to say no one would say, “Yes.” Although they’d be wrong because people laugh (and learn) at basic, but potentially life-changing, stories about Red and how, when it came to money, she was clueless and intimidated.

It could be the story of Red putting her theater degree to good use as she freaked out about vocabulary. Especially since she was a straight-A student and avid reader who prided herself on her vocabulary. (If words set her off, Black could only imagine the “scene” that would have occurred if she had asked Red this handful of questions.) But Red’s financial crisis did prompt the ever-pragmatic Black to envision the power of a sitcom with entertaining money episodes because … Money IS A Laughing Matter!

Want to read other columns? Here’s a list.