Anna and Lia are tied up in knots — delicious, doughy knots — because this episode is all about pretzels! Lia Ballentine, our Chef-Creator, starts us off with the pretzel baking basics and tells us how changing the dough’s pH by boiling it in baking soda or dropping it in a lye bath (that’s right, a lye bath) is essential to achieving the perfect pretzel taste and texture. She takes us through the multiple pretzel-related food holidays on the calendar, including National Pretzel Day, which is day loved by all - especially our hero Stanley from The Office. Plus, she tells us why a region in Pennsylvania is known as the “Snack Belt,” how German immigrants started the pretzel boom in America, and highlights two important women in pretzel history: Helen Hoff and “Auntie Anne” Beiler. Yes, Auntie Anne is a real person! Then get ready for one of the wildest Deep Dish segments ever as Anna Van Valin, our Foodlosopher, tells us the fascinating story behind the bizarre religious history of the pretzel — starting from Middle Ages when monks baked pretzels as a holy treat for students, all the way to the 1970s when an ex-clown founded a movement to bring people back to the Catholic Church during a time when secularism was on the rise and made pretzels the center of it. Anna shares the fascinating story of Marlene McCauley, the founder of “Pretzels for God,” and how she believed the pretzel, with the spiritual guidance of a Native American saint Kateri Tekakwitha, could save our souls. Get ready to enjoy some crazy twists in this episode because these pretzel stories are ones you knead to hear!r!
More info from the show:
- Take a tour of the Julius Sturgis Bakery in Lititz, PA
- Watch this interview with Anne Beiler, the real Auntie Anne
- Relive the excitement of National Pretzel Day with Stanley and the Dunder Mifflin gang
- Learn all about the "Pretzels for God" Movement
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