Thursday, October 11, 2012

Diasporic Dining XXXIII: Live and Let Live

The salted and unsalted pretzels in the Riverhead BJ’s occupy literally the bottom rung on the food chain. They're to be found in the inauspicious dining alcove next to the Verizon kiosk on the way in. This alcove has nothing in common with the cafes found in tony department stores like Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue.  Other specialites de la maison are soup (New England clam chowder), pizza, hot dogs and chicken wings. There are no Mouton Rothchilds on its counter, but the fountain counts recent vintages of Diet Coke and Pepsi amongst its offerings. The question is, does a pretzel like the one offered by BJ’s have a right to exist? The pretzel is decidedly lower in quality than the warm pretzels sold by vendors outside of MOMA or the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But if you are one of those who believes that there are no coincidences and that basically everything we encounter in the world is just as it supposed to be, then this much maligned pretzel earns its place, its 15 minutes of fame.  If you are in BJ’s you are undoubtedly purchasing massive amounts of toilet paper, paper towels, detergent and soap. Your cart runneth over and with the opportunity to buy Pepperidge Farm Goldfish in bulk, you are beginning to breathe heavily as you navigate the aisles. On the way out, just as you are studying your receipt and wondering how you've been able to rack up such a large bill in the one club which would have you as a member, you inhale the smell of the aforementioned pretzel. Without allowing the usual questioning attending the purchase of even crunchier and doughier versions, you lay down $.99 and begin your rapture.

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