TIme to Smarten Up: Day 8 (Pretzels & Books)


One week in, and I’ve only narrowly missed failing the challenge already. Technically it was a day late, but who’s counting?

My desire to stop sitting on the couch all day inspired me to do 2 things this week: 

  1. Bake soft pretzels
  2. Go on a hunt for a used book store.

Pretzels

I’m not exactly a fan of cooking, baking, or anything of the sort.

Flashback to 8th grade in Family Studies class. The teacher had been hyping us up for the ‘Cooking and Baking’ lesson for a few weeks, and I had a strong urge to become a master chef at this point in my life. In groups of 5, we followed our teacher’s recipe and baked some pretzels. The pretzels, products of 5 teenagers who have never been in a kitchen before, were disgusting; mushy and dry, with patches of raw flour throughout. Nonetheless, I begged my Mom to buy me some yeast and flour as soon as I got home. She warned me that she was going to be angry if I wasted the yeast, but I promised that I wouldn’t stop baking until there was nothing left to waste.

When it came down to it, I decided that I didn’t even like baking. I made one batch of pretzels for my family, and then called it quits. My Mom, who could see this coming from miles away, scolded me for letting the yeast go bad, and promised to never buy it for me again. Today, I know that she would have bought me more if I really wanted it, but at the time it seemed like my destiny as a culinary artist had been crushed. 

(I should also mention that I was so bad with food that I was banned from using the stove for a few years because I burnt eggs so often)

Flash forward to this weekend: I decided that it was time to make some more soft pretzels. 

  • Use the first recipe displayed on Google? CHECK. (Here it is if you want it!)
  • Buy ingredients? CHECK.
  • Assume that they’re going to be awful? CHECK!!!!

The process was much more relaxing than I remember. First, mix some stuff in a bowl; second, knead it until your whole upper body hurts; third, go watch an episode of Breaking Bad while the dough rises for an hour; finally, shape them into something that might look like a pretzel, and bake it until it just looks like a pile of bread. Easy!

Jokes aside, they ended up tasting amazing. All 12 of them were demolished within hours, between 2 people. I made a 2nd batch, and they tasted even better; they were demolished even more quickly. Pretzels

 

Verdict: Success. I never would have tried out this ‘baking’ thing if it wasn’t for the challenge. Definitely going to look up some recipes for other ways to fulfill my carb-binging needs.

Book Store

This adventure wasn’t quite as exciting, nor did it have any type of backstory. I just wanted to find a cheap place for books.

I haven’t been in a bookstore in a while. I’ve been hooked on my e-reader for the past year, but last month I went to the library and picked up a physical book. It’s easy to forget the novelty of holding a book when you get used to simply downloading a digital copy. 

Instead of doing the smart thing (i.e.: Googling ‘Book Stores in Halifax’), I decided to walk Downtown and hunt for some used books the ol’fashioned way. By some stroke of luck, I found United Bookstore on Barrington Street. Cheap books (paperbacks were 1/2 off cover price!!), and they had exactly what I was looking for – Stephen King, Stephen King, and more Stephen King.

Verdict: Half success? Okay, I don’t think walking to a book store fully counts as meeting my challenge, but at least I know where to get cheap books now. That being said, the likely alternative would have been to just sit on my couch and lurk Reddit. 

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