I don’t know about you but i’ve always wondered what’s the deal with pretzels. Why shaped so weird? I’m pretty sure it’s not there for cutting down on manufacturing costs; i can think of a dozen shapes that are easier to produce in an assembly line.
So, to unfold the answer i decided to assign the task to one of our lovely, “knowledge-thirsty” I’m A Useless Info Junkie authors and here’s what he found.
As it turns out, there are several theories behind the origin of the pretzel shape. The most dominant one has to do with French monks. According to this theory, monks in seventh-century France were responsible for inventing the pretzel. They used the food to reward children for learning their prayers and the peculiar shape represented the arms of a child folded in prayer. The theory goes on to say that pretiola, the Latin root of the word pretzel, means “reward”. Most probably though, the word pretzel is an evolution of the latin word “brassadel”, meaning “with arms”, which itself comes from the Greek “brakhion” which means “an arm”. But that’s not the only theory out there. (the article continues after the ad)
Another popular legend credits a baker with a bad drinking habit with inventing the pretzel. As the story goes, the baker was to be sentenced to jail. The judge told him he would remain free if he could make a small cake through which the sun could shine three times. Hence the pretzel.
Yet another theory that states that the pretzel is of German origin and was originally shaped like the letter “B” for the German word for the food, “bretzel.”
What’s the real origin behind the shape? I guess we’ll never find out. However, most sources seem to support some version of the folded-arms story and propose that the pretzel originated in a monastery in France or Italy around 610 A.D., later spreading to Austria and Germany, where we got the word “bretzel” and eventually “pretzel.”
So there you have it, a twisted reply to a knotty question.