Chewy soft pretzels are easy to make at home. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Penisula Clarion)
Chewy soft pretzels are easy to make at home. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

Chewy soft pretzels are easy to make at home. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Penisula Clarion) Chewy soft pretzels are easy to make at home. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

On the strawberry patch: Sisterhood and soft pretzels

Our favorite snack there, the one I know will always make her smile, was a soft pretzel with cheese sauce.

It is estimated that around one-third of the star systems in the universe are binary systems — ones that have two orbiting stars at their center. Unlike our system, which revolves around the mass of a single star, these systems revolve around the immense gravity that binds two.

My existence, my reality, is similar. For a very brief time, my best friend in the universe, my twin sister and I, were a single being. That one being suddenly fractured, and the two of us began our journey through time as sister stars.

This past weekend we celebrated 35 rotations of our orbit. Over the years, as we have twirled together with the cruel blackness of the universe at our backs, our faces have always been bathed in the shining warmth of the other. The flickering universe has at times blessed us with light, and at times has subjected us to the barrage of storms, but through it all the bond between us has kept us stable and has saved us from the misery of drifting alone through the frigid darkness.

In the first year of our independence, we worked together at the Orange Julius stand. Our favorite snack there, the one I know will always make her smile, was a soft pretzel with cheese sauce. My recipe is so easy and so quick you could whip them up as an afternoon snack.


3 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups warm water

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 tablespoon sugar (or honey)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 eggs, beaten

½ cup baking soda (for the water bath)

Coarse salt for garnish


Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with either greased parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Combine your yeast, warm water, and sugar (or honey) in a large mixing bowl and let sit 5 minutes for the yeast to activate.

Combine flour and salt.

Add your flour mixture to your water mixture in thirds, working the dough until totally combined in between each addition. When the dough pulls away from the bowl and doesn’t stick to your fingers it’s ready to knead. You may need a little more or a little less flour so don’t add it all at once.

Knead the dough on a floured surface for 5 minutes, then cover with a damp towel and allow to rest for 15 minutes while you prepare your water bath.

Dissolve your baking soda in at least 8 cups of water and set to boil in a wide pan. It doesn’t need to be a deep pan, but at least deep enough to float the pretzels.

Form your pretzels however you like. You could make traditional folded arm pretzels, or knots, or even simple balls. I chose twisted rings to represent our infinitely intertwined lives.

Carefully transfer your formed pretzels into the boiling water bath and allow to cook for 2 minutes on each side.

Remove from the water bath and dip both sides into the beaten egg before setting onto your baking sheet.

Sprinkle on your coarse salt. You could also do cinnamon sugar or Parmesan cheese. No matter how you want to dress them, now is the time.

Bake for 10 minutes then turn on the broiler for a couple minutes to crisp the tops. Watch them carefully under the broiler so they don’t burn — it happens fast so don’t walk away. Serve them warm with plenty of cheese sauce (or mustard, my favorite).

Together we have experienced all the joy and tragedy of life, we have served and learned and traveled together, and when one has stumbled or has been thrown into chaos, the gravity of our bond has prevented us from being hurled off into oblivion.

We were born with a life partner, a true constant in a fickle universe, and I am forever grateful to our mother for giving us this greatest of gifts.

Happy birthday, Sarah! May our dance through space and time last for many, many more rotations.

Tressa Dale is a U.S. Navy veteran and culinary and pastry school graduate from Anchorage. She currently lives in Nikiski with her husband, 1-year-old son and two black cats.

More in Life

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: This and that

Organizations are running out of people to keep them going

This Al Hershberger photo of his good friend Hedley Parsons was taken in Germany in 1945, after World War II had ended. Parsons and Hershberger came to Alaska together a few years later, and in 2010, when Parsons was interviewed for this story, he may have been the last person living who had actually attended George Dudley’s messy funeral
This parting was not sweet sorrow — Part 2

The funeral was scheduled for 2 p.m. on May 5, and spring break-up was in full, sloppy bloom at the Kenai Cemetery

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
A copy of “People, Paths, and Places: The Frontier History of Moose Pass, Alaska” stands in sunlight in Soldotna on Friday.
Off the Shelf: Community history project a colorful portrait of hometown

The book features the work of students at Moose Pass School and integrates further stories pulled from a community newspaper

The Anchorage Bowl Chamber Orchestra performs. (Photo courtesy Anchorage Bowl Chamber Orchestra)
Anchorage orchestra group to visit Kenai Peninsula for 10th annual tour

Anchorage Bowl Chamber Orchestra will play four shows from May 30 to June 2

Minister’s Message: Boasting only in Christ and the Cross

The Reverend Billy Graham advised every president since Truman during his lifetime

Corn cheese is served alongside grilled beef, kimchi and lettuce. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Planning barbecue with all the bells and whistles

Expect kimchi, lots of side dishes, piles of rice, marinated meat for the flame and cold fruit for dessert

Noa (voiced by Owen Teague) in 20th Century Studios’ “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.” (Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios)
On the Screen: New ‘Planet of the Apes’ expands, brings new ideas to franchise universe

“Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” tells a story that feels more rooted in fantasy than the post-apocalypse vibe of its predecessors

A mural depicting imagery and iconography of Kenai brightens the entryway of the Walmart in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, May 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Visible art raises people’s spirits’

Local artist’s mural introduced as part of Walmart renovations

Former North Kenai resident George Coe Dudley, seen here during the winter of 1950-51, was a hard-drinking man. His messy funeral in 1967 in Kenai echoed his lifestyle. (Photo courtesy of Al Hershberger)
This parting was not sweet sorrow — Part 1

“Dudley was an easy-going, laid-back sort of guy, always laughing and joking, as well as hard drinking.”

Most Read