Did you know that the origins of pretzels are unknown? The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids shares stories and legends about how the popular snack came to be!
Twisted Tales of the World’s Oldest Snack
Around A.D. 600, monks in southern France (or northern Italy) are said to have baked dough treats called pretiola, which is Latin for “little reward.” They were shaped like arms bent in prayer, and children received them as a prize for memorizing religious passages.
As the little reward’s popularity spread, its name changed: In Italy, it became known as brachiola (“little arms”). In Old German, “little arms” were brezitella, which became bretzel and eventually “pretzel.”
Centuries ago in Germany on Easter, parents hid pretzels on their family farms and children hunted for them. Eventually, this tradition turned into the Easter egg hunt!
Some people believe that the pilgrims who sailed to America on the Mayflower brought pretzels with them. According to legend, the world’s first “hard” pretzel was baked in the late 1700s in Pennsylvania when an assistant baker fell asleep while his pretzels baked in the oven. The chief baker is said to have been angry with his assistant—until he tasted the crispy invention!
For more facts about food, fun, and almost everything else, curl up with a bag of tasty pretzels and a copy of The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids!