Friday, July 12, 2013

The Pretzel

One of the most popular snacks in every household is definitely the pretzel. A carefully prepared dough of specially selected ingredients is formed into pretzels with a real twist, salted and slowly baked for extra crunchiness. The popular pretzel of today was developed long ago by a monk in about 610AD at one of the mountains between Southern France and Northern Italy. After baking bread, this imaginative monk took leftover dough and rolled it into a strip, and formed it to represent a child’s arms folded in prayer. He called it “pretiola”, which is Latin for ‘little reward’ and gave it to little children for learning their prayers. The precious “pretiola” made its way over the Alps into Austria and Germany where it became affectionately known as “Bretzel.”

Pretzels also hold an honored place in the marriage ceremony. A woodcut dating 1614 and copied from a stained-glass window in a Cathedral in Berne Switzerland, depicts a pretzel used as a nuptial knot in a royal marriage. After a while, wishing on a pretzel became common, particularly at weddings when the bride held one side of a pretzel and the groom held the other side. They pulled on a pretzel and each got a piece of their hand, very much similar to what we do with a wish-bone from a chicken after it’s been dried and washed clean.

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