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The Twisted History of the Pretzel -- On National Pretzel Day
Fun facts about National Pretzel Day on Thursday, April 26, 2012
It's no surprise that they'll be getting lots of attention this April 26, when National Pretzel Day is celebraed in communities across America.
No one is exactly sure how it all got started, but a special day -- set aside to honor history's oldest snack food -- has been gaining in popularity for over a decade.
And why not?
These chewy, crunchy treats have been enjoyed for centuries and date back to the Middle Ages, when monks first twisted bits of dough into the shape of a child's arms in prayer. Originally called pretiola, or Latin for "little reward", the snack slowly morphed into the Italian word, brachiola, or "little arms."
The popularity of the brachiola journeyed beyond France and Italy to find favor in Austria and Germany where it finally became known as the "bretzel."
And the rest, as they say, is pretzel history...
PRETZEL FUN FACTS:
* The phrase "tying the knot" came from the Swiss, who still incorporate the lucky pretzel into wedding ceremonies.
* The world's first hard pretzel was said to have first appeared in the 17th century when a colonial Pennsylvania baker overbaked a batch, and deemed them delicious.
* Pretzels were made by hand until 1935, when the first automated pretzel machine was introduced enabling factory bakers to mass produce them to the tune of 245 pretzels per minute.
Today, more than $550 million worth of pretzels are sold in the United States every year.... and that's a lot of pretzels.
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Happy National Pretzel Day!