Selasa, 27 Juli 2010

What's the origin of the word "pretzel"?

: pretzel history; pretzel name

Why: I am eating some Honey Wheat Braids and thinking about what makes a pretzel a pretzel. It's not the knot or the salt or the twist or the hardness. And maybe you should try the jalapeno cheese pretzel at Disneyland (only at the Coca Cola Refreshment Corner).
Answer: Nobody is sure! Theories:
  • It comes from the Latin pretiola, "little reward," as a 7th century monk handed them out as a reward for children who learned their prayers.
  • It comes from preces, "prayers," after the shape of the pretzel, designed to look like hands in prayer.
  • The real German word is bretzel, from brezitella and brachiatellum, something like "bread baked in the form of crossed arms."
And the secret ingredient is lye! At least on hard pretzels:
In a bakery, pretzels are sprayed with a solution of lye, and the resulting alkalinity encourages their familiar dark brown color (fortunately, the caustic lye combines with carbon dioxide during baking and becomes harmless). Bakery pretzels are then baked for about half an hour -- pretty long for something not much thicker than a cracker -- to make them absolutely dry and hard.

and baking soda for soft ones:

Homemade pretzels and soft pretzels are often made much the same way as bagels, by poaching them in boiling water before baking, the difference being that bagels are usually poached in salt water rather than water and baking soda.
Source: LA Times, Auntie Anne's

The More You Know: If you love pretzels like I do, maybe you can use a pretzel as a marriage knot in your wedding like people did in 17th century Switzerland. According to the people in the food court:
The wedding phrase "tying the knot" got its start when a pretzel was used to tie the knot between two prominent families. The pretzel's loops stood for everlasting love.
Just make a wish and break it like a wishbone. And eat it. Or invite me and give out some of these things.

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