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National Pretzel Day

April 26th is National Pretzel Day.  

As usual, I was unable to find an origin for National Pretzel Day, but I did discover that pretzels have a rather interesting history.  I was a bit surprised to learn that pretzels have such a strong religious background, particularly in the Christian faiths.

As one story of the origin of pretzels goes, they were first created by a monk in 610 in Italy.  He baked strips of dough into the shape of a child crossing his harms in prayer.  He called them pretiolas (little rewards) and gave them to the children that had correctly memorized their prayers.

There are are other versions of the origin of pretzels but the first recorded evidence of pretzels didn’t appear until 1111 when it appeared on the crest of the German baker’s build.  

By the 16th century, it had become tradition to eat pretzels on Good Friday in Germany, and Catholics once considered them the “official food of lent.”  

Pretzels arrived in America with the German immigrants in the 1700s. Pretzel bakeries popped up all over Pennsylvania around this time, and Pennsylvania has continued to be main source of American pretzel production… and consumption. 

Anyway, pretzels are a snack food that are enjoyed by all today.  There are soft pretzels, and hard pretzels.  They are often covered in chocolate like in the photo, or dipped in mustard sauces or included as an ingredient in party snack mixes.

Dig in.

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