Wednesday, April 4, 2012


You learn something new every day. Isn't that how the saying goes? Well, it's true. 

At least for me it is. 

Sometimes it's a lesson ( I tend to learn these the hard way) or a fun fact (that I stow away to bring up randomly at parties, I like to look smart people).  Today I learned about the Pretzel.  Yep.  The Pretzel.  This falls more in the smart at parties category.

Y'all may already know this schnazzy frazz, but I didn't until today so I thought I'd share. 

My Hazelmonkey's 4th grade teacher asked if I could bring pretzels for her class today.  She was going to use them in a lesson and wanted to have the large "soft" pretzels from the oven.  I said no problem but she had piqued my interest.  What are they going to learn with a pretzel?  Besides that they are yummy especially when dipped in mustard and eaten while walking around fair grounds. And with salt.  Plenty of big chunky salt.

So, make pretzels I did.

Y'all, I really slaved over these.  It took hours to make the dough just right, twist them into the perfect pretzely shape, bake them, salt them, etc.

Or, you can take the easy yet still totally tasty way out and buy these in the frozen food section of the K. Roger (that's our local talk for Kroger which makes me want to also tell you how much I miss HEB) and pop them in the oven.  This is what I actually did.  Did I fool you?  Probably not.  Plus, I like the name.  SUPER PRETZEL.  Sounds way Super!  It needs a cape. I also would like a cape but that is a  post for another day.

We are in the season of Lent. The time leading up to Easter.  Time of preparation.  Time for the resurrection of Jesus and the basis of our faith.  What does this have to do with the Pretzel?  It turns out, a lot.

Did you know that the pretzel dates back to the ancient Roman Empire?  It was the main Lenten bread of the time.  The cool part is why:

"A young monk in the early 600s in Italy was preparing a special Lenten bread of water, flour and salt. To remind his brother monks that Lent was a time of prayer, he rolled the bread dough in strips and then shaped each strip in the form of crossed arms, mimicking the then popular prayer position of folding one’s arms over each other on the chest. The bread was then baked as a soft bread, just like the big soft pretzels one can find today. (To be fair, some traditions date the story to even the 300s.)" -Fr. William Saunders (

(picture from

It also has significance with Lent in relation to fasting.  It is only made with flour, water, and salt and therefore didn't break any of the then very strict Lenten fasting traditions. 

In many places in Europe, pretzels are only served during Lent, from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday.

I also loved how they got their name.  I learned that today too.

Ok.  I told you that they were shaped into the form of crossed arms, so they decided to call them bracellae, the Latin word for "little arms."  From that, the Germans derived the word bretzel which has since turned into the word we use now, pretzel.

So cool.

I also learned lots of other fun stories about pretzels, like how they were so easy to make in mass that they were often handed out to the poor and that they started making the now popular hard pretzel due to the baker falling asleep while they were in the oven and over baking them.  I love fun facts.  I'm a total dork but I'm cool with that.

I would like to add that if you write the word pretzel enough, you will soon think that there is no way that it is spelled that way.  Am I the only one who does that?  I find myself spell checking my everyday words all the time! I just know some of them are not spelled that way, even if spell check says they are.

I'm loving that I have a new/old Lenten tradition to share with my family. 

So, go get your pretzel on and you can share it too. 


  1. love this! i wish i had known this earlier on in lent, i would have had a million pretzels. :)
    but only a few more days til i can have coffee again :) i miss it. SO. BAD.

  2. Thanks! Doing this with my kiddos, today!