It also seems to conjure pretzels out of nowhere, with no power to heat the dough. Possibly he put pre-made pretzels in the hopper and turned it on.
The Poor Friends are reluctant to eat them, thinking they might have value, and Ma might not have to paint herself up and go to town again tonight while Dad drinks. The rest of the kids are the usual quivering parasites who butter up to Richie when he's around and slag him behind his back. C'mon, pretzels? All that money he got and he gives us pretzels?
At least no one's tongue is hanging out of his mouth to indicate anticipatory salivaton.