Thursday, January 22, 2015

Hot Pretzels!

I'd like to highlight one of the most often overlooked snack foods -- the pretzel. Odds are you have a bag of pretzels in your pantry. They're a common food item to be found in my home, as I'm sure they are in yours. But... where do they come from?

Here are a few interesting facts about the pretzel that you may not know.
  • The modern pretzel originates in the sixth century with Italian monks. They twisted dough into a shape resembling folded hands across the chest in prayer. They were then rewarded to eager children.
  • Average Americans eat one to two pounds of hard pretzels per person annually. There is one exception, though -- the average Pennsylvania resident will consume ten to twelve times more pretzels than the national average!
  • The name Pretzel most likely originates with the German word Brezel. Brezel is derived from Latin word bracchiolla, which means little arms.
  • In America, pretzels first came to prominence in Pennsylvania. This is due to all of the European settlers that came to live in the New World. The area was widely settled by Germans and the Dutch.
  • April 26 is National Pretzel Day. It was founded in 2003 by the then Governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell.
  • A pretzel without salt is referred to as a baldie.
  • If you're nuts for pretzels, then you're what's known as a Pretzelphyte.
In case you're wondering, I prefer a classic soft pretzel without salt over the hard pretzel found on grocery store snack aisles.

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