Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pretzels and Prayer

My family belongs to a vibrant church with an innovative Sunday school program called "The River." It has a fun way of approaching Christian topics and teaching Bible lessons. You may wonder how this relates to the eating experience of a food blogger. Well, in our family, even Sunday school has a strong connection to food. Each grade (K-3) rotates through a workshop (Art, Games, Science, Bible Skills and COOKING). The workshops focus on a theme. Every few weeks the theme changes. Once in awhile, I have the opportunity to assist with the class--dubbing me the Sunday school "sous chef." On this occasion, the topic was "Prayer."

Who would think that you could combine cooking and prayer to teach a Sunday school class? Well, these creative teachers DID! They decided to make pretzels with the children. Did you know that pretzels were invented by a monk in the 16th century to remind people to pray? The shape of the pretzel symbolizes arms folded across the chest. This was a common prayer position at that time.

For the cooking portion of the lesson, the students helped measure, combine & mix the ingredients (flour, sugar, egg and water). Then they kneaded the dough and rolled it into thin strand. Next, they twisted them into pretzel shapes applied an egg wash, and sprinkled it with sea salt. Finally, the teachers arranged the pretzels on a pan and baked them in the oven at 425 degrees for 25 min. Helpful hint: Use parchment paper and write each child's name next to the pretzel.

While the pretzels baked, one of the teachers taught the lesson on prayer. She described the different types of prayer (adorational, confessional, thanksgiving and special). The lesson concluded with an explanation and recitation of "The Lord's Prayer."  When the "Amens" were said, the pretzels were ready. The children enjoyed eating them and talking about prayer. Thus, putting a "tasty" and meaningful finish on the power of prayer.