Posted by Emily Thorson
OK, so on Saturday my friends in Philly are hosting their third annual Bake-Off. Technically, the first one was a pie-off: in fact, looking through my Flickr archives, I see that I have photographic evidence of said pies. I’m not going to post the photo here because (a) every single item of food pictured looks absolutely disgusting and (b) I make super-lame joke in the description. If you really want to click through, go for it. Apologies.
Last year we moved to a more traditional bake-off format, probably because I complained loudly that I don’t like pies (I DON’T LIKE PIES, OK? LEAVE ME ALONE). I find it hard to believe that my complaints carry that much weight among my friends, but Yglesias claims that everyone stopped drinking vodka because I publicly shamed them every time they so much as mentioned having ever enjoyed it, so perhaps my words are more persuasive than I realize. Or at least shriller and more high-pitched.
Because I know that the best way to win is to play a slightly different game than everyone else, I decided to go savory instead of sweet, and Tom and I made some homemade soft pretzels (montage below).
AND WE WON! Our prize:”Best Philadelphia Spirit.” Arguably a cop-out award, but I walked away with a shiny new meat thermometer, which is more than all those people with their lame Snicker-studded brownies can say.
But Internet, what next? I’m considering doing soft pretzels again, but upping the pretzel ante with toppings (everything pretzels?) or even a filling. Or I could go simple with cheese straws–who doesn’t love a good cheese straw? Keep in mind that most of the items available will be very sweet and very heavy, so I think the best strategy is to make something that is both savory and, while not healthy (healthy stuff never wins any prizes, duh), lets people delude themselves into BELIEVING that they’re eating healthy. Basically, I need a recipe that’s the clam chowder of bake-offs. You know, clam chowder: “Oh, I’m just going to get a cup of soup, I don’t need a whole entree”. Except that clam chowder is actually A BOWL OF LARD. Delicious sea lard.
In conclusion: What should I make? Incentive: If I use a recipe left in the comments and it wins, I will either (a) send you some of it in the mail or (b) post a photograph of myself balancing pretzels on my head. As many pretzels as I can. Maybe even a video. YOUR CHOICE. You can also request that I balance pretzels on my cat’s head. In fact, I may do that anyway.