There was a time, not too long ago, when Pam wouldn't want to be in the kitchen at all when Leslee was making pretzels, because of a very understandable fear of sodium hydroxide. Remember that scene in Fight Club? The chemical burn part? That stuff is what makes our pretzels so crusty and delicious. It's also called food-grade lye, which sounds nicer, but is still the chemical equivalent of drain cleaner. You form your dough into whatever shape you want (we like little golf balls) and then dunk them in a mixture of lye and water. It effects the Maillard process by altering the ratio of sugar to protein in the crust and blah blah blah. It's pretty fascinating stuff which could easily lead you deep down into an internet time warp of chemistry and baking were to you look it up.
Don't worry about the poison, though, it all bakes off in the oven, and the end result is a crisp brown crust, and that distinctive pretzel smell wafting throughout the whole restaurant. These days, not only will Pam be in the kitchen for pretzel time, not even wearing a respirator, she's doing the dunking! I just wanted to take a second to acknowledge that. Way to go Pam!