Thursday, April 25, 2013

National Pretzel Day

By Chef Diane

The days before Christmas I can be found in my kitchen.   When I was growing up, the best part of Christmas was the treats my grandmother made.   My favorites were the fudge and snowball cookies that were kept in a foil lined metal tin.   As my grandmother got older, I began making the treats she couldn’t make anymore.  After she passed away I would make my favorite things, but then I thought that others in my family had their favorites too, and I wanted them to have great Christmas memories too, so I started fixing their favorites too.    Of course by the end of the holiday I wish that everyone had the same favorite!
One of my mother's favorites is chocolate covered pretzels, so every Christmas I fix her a batch.  I have learned that some others like them too, so this past Christmas, my mother's pretzels were eaten up by everyone.  So, I fixed her some just for her on Valentines, and other special occasions, such as Easter, Mother's Day and her birthday.  This past year my cousin's daughter made some chocolate cover pretzels using the rod pretzels that look like sticks.  I have seen them before, but have been wary of trying them thinking if the looked like sticks...maybe they were hard like sticks too.   Well I am happy to report they were delicious, and not hard at all! The bad news for her is now I will be expecting them every Christmas!!!

Today is National Pretzel Day.  Pretzels come in many shapes and sizes; they can also be crunchy or softly baked.  According to legend, in the late 1600s a Pennsylvania baker forgot a batch of pretzels in the oven. The over-baked treats were dark and hard, but the baker sampled one anyway. He was pleasantly surprised by the crunchy deliciousness. Hard pretzels are now one of the most popular snack foods.  According to, centuries ago, Catholic monks created the first pretzels from scraps of leftover dough. The unique knot shape represented the Holy Trinity, but the significance of this symbol has evolved over the course of history. During the 17th century, pretzels symbolized the bond of marriage. This is where the phrase “tying the knot” originated.  It is also said that the pretzels were formed in the shape of a praying child.  If you are feeling adventurous today, click here to make your own soft pretzels. or you can just stop by the closest mall or grocery store and pick some up to enjoy.

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