The pretzel is a beloved favorite snack food that has a long, mysterious history. Although the exact origins and date of creation are not entirely understood, the pretzel has made its mark on history throughout the ages, and as such has developed in different ways.
Although the exact date of creation is unknown, the beginning of the pretzel has an interesting story. An Italian monk first invented the pretzel in the 6th century. The legend of the snack’s origin suggests that the monk created the treat with extra dough by twisting it into the shape of a person praying.
The monk originally named the treat pretiola, Latin for “little reward”, because they were used as small rewards to children for learning their prayers. By the time the pretiola reached Germany, it was renamed bretzels, which eventually turned into pretzels. Although the legend gives a suggested origin for the treat, it remains a legend because it was not verified with any clear data from that time period.
As pretzels became more prevalent, it was used for many different purposes. Different cultures would use the treat for different purposes, though some of the most common were related to ceremonies and religious beliefs. Pretzels became a traditional part of Lent during the 16th century and it remains a part of Catholic tradition.
Pretzels were, and still are used in Sweden, as part of wedding ceremonies as a symbol of “tying the knot”. During the wedding ceremony, a bride and groom would pull on the pretzel to break it and fulfill their wishes. Pretzels were also distributed to the poor during times when food was given to the less fortunate.
By the late 1800s, the modern pretzels were developed. Instead of baking the pretzel for a soft treat, the snack was baked too the point of losing moisture. When moisture was removed, crunchy pretzels became a snack food item that would last for a longer period of time.
In modern times, pretzels have taken on different roles. In the United States, pretzels are sold as both hard snacks and soft. They can be found freshly baked with salt or sugar sprinkled on top. Different coverings have also started making delicious appearances, such as chocolate covered pretzels. In other countries, pretzels are freshly baked and often sold warm with butter in the middle.
Although the origin of pretzels is still a mystery, the snack has been part of many cultures over the years. The snack is still a favorite and it is likely to continue carrying forward as a snack in the future.