Whether you like them straight up, twisted, salted or sweet, these pub treats have been around since before the eleven-hundreds. It’s Pretzel Day!
Although these snacks have ended up on bar tops, they had a more heavenly start in life. If you’re a fan of pretzels in any form, you should thank a monk. Modeled after the crossed arms of young monks praying, the original soft pretzel was distributed as treats when the young boys said their prayers correctly.
Well, of course, you mention young boys and the Catholics get on board. Next thing you know history is documenting soft pretzels being distributed by Catholics with the explanation that the three holes and twisted design represent the Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Also, during Lent, flour, water, and salt didn’t compromise spiritual sacrifices. From here pretzels took off, being associated with good luck, prosperity, long life, and spirituality. They were given to the poor as literal spiritual sustenance, the Swiss used them in weddings as a spiritual “tying of the knot,” and Germans wore them around their necks for good luck. Have you ever considered wearing a pretzel?
Well, if your Sherlock Holms hasn’t kicked in yet, the soft definitely preceded the hard pretzel. The first deliberately made hard pretzels were made in 1861, invented by Julius Sturgis in his Pennsylvania shop. Bakers realized they could make more money from a product that lasted longer in an airtight environment because they could be distributed further from the shop and be available to more customers. Cha-ching!!! By 1935 Reading Pretzel Machinery Company became the first pretzel manufacturing company in the U.S. and still produces 80% of pretzels in the states.
All of this history is great but let’s get into the real debate, savory or sweet?!
I’m sweet all the way! But these days the list of pretzel snacks is daunting from cupcakes to crab pretzels. Who’s on board? Celebrate by going over! I have a cousin who used to truly believe she was addicted to pretzel. An intervention was staged and I don’t know if she has even smelled a pretzel since, for fear of relapsing. Today, she may have to just reminice. I don’t want to be blamed for a relapse. As for the rest of you whether salty, savory, or sweet, get twisted and HOLIDAY ON MY FRIENDS!