7 life lessons from a pretzel

Have you found life’s truths in a snack food yet?

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  • Friends and family are familiar with the fact that I like to use food to explain things (My former roommates are still confused at the relationship between switching yogurt brands and my English classes). But life lessons related to food have taught me some profound truths, even though they may be based on my current eating habits. Recently, I started thinking about some changes that had occured in my life. I started munching on a nearby bag of pretzels when it all came together. I paused, pretzel in hand. Suddenly a list of seven life lessons I had learned throughout the years came to my mind, all of which I learned from this humble snack food.

  • 1. Adventure is out there

  • I remember riding on an airplane for the first time. I was terrified. Heights and I had never been comfortable together. But after takeoff, flying felt like a car ride — but with pretzels. As I have grown more comfortable with flying, the little snack pretzels remind me each time of the adventures that travel and life present.

  • 2. There's plenty of fish in the sea

  • This dating cliché that (weakly) consoles post-breakup was proven to me in the grocery store. A friend and I stumbled upon the cracker aisle en route to some Ben & Jerry's. The vast collection of Goldfish crackers, however, stopped us in our tracks. Who knew crackers could be flavor-blasted or rainbow colored? Distracted, we snagged a bag that turned out to be a fish-shaped pretzel variety. Though I've heard "there are plenty of fish in the sea" before, the saying had never rung so true as it did as I held that bag of pretzel fish.

  • 3. Life is sweet and salty

  • In college, a good friend (and baker) brought homemade soft pretzels over, fresh from the oven. Though delivered at a late hour, we couldn't turn them away. However, a minor dispute soon erupted when we decided how to top these baked delights; salt or cinnamon & sugar? We decided to vote, but the simple and arbitrary debate served as a good reminder that life (like pretzels) can be both salty and sweet.

  • 4. Imitation is the highest form of flattery

  • Though it seems irrational, I once had to referee a fight that broke out over snack time. The older of the two girls decided to have pretzels and cottage cheese as a snack, and was veryupset when her little sister copied her idea. After the tears had settled down, I repeated a phrase that I myself was often told as a child: "Imitation is the highest form of flattery." This life lesson is something I keep in mind often, and is applicable in many situations.

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  • 5. Chocolate doesn't necessarily help, but it doesn't hurt either

  • The gift of chocolate-covered pretzels was left on my porch by a dear friend after hearing that I had been going through a rough patch in my life. I ended up munching on the entire bag late into the night as I stayed up watching movies. I've heard it said before that chocolate always makes everything better, which I don't totally agree with. Problems were still there post-snacking, but I realized that chocolate hadn't made anything worse. Thank you for the chocolate-dipped life lesson, pretzel.

  • 6. Always keep childhood nostalgia

  • Trips to Disneyland always resulted in at least a few soft pretzels. It's silly, but that treat will forever remind me of our family trips to California. Even when I grab a soft pretzel at the mall or at a sport's game, I still remember those times we spent together while on vacation. It's helped me to remember the importance of keeping in touch with your childhood self. Though I don't love soft pretzels like I did as a girl, the memory is nostalgic, and nostalgia is an important part of life.

  • 7. See God everywhere

  • I once had a religious lesson that discussed the origin of the pretzel. History tells us that a Catholic monk used leftover dough to fold into the shape of a child praying — the pretzel shape we easily recognize today. As this was being explained, I realized that God is indeed found in all the details of our lives.

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Emily is putting her English and Humanities degree to use editing and writing all over the world. Trying to see all 7 world wonders (while visiting as many countries as she can in between), Emily loves wandering alleyways, beautifully photographed food, stumbling upon impromptu flea and food markets. She can usually be found camera in hand, munching on a street food and never has her headphones out of reach.

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