(WYTV)- All about pretzels: the soft ones came first.
Christian monks in Italy started baking them from left over dough around 610 A.D, shaping them to resemble arms crossed in prayer. Children got them as rewards for learning their prayers.
The name pretzel comes from the word “pretiola” or “little rewards.” Pretzels were a part of wedding ceremonies in the 16th century, the bride and groom would make a wish, break the pretzel and eat it as a symbol of their union.
Historians think the Mayflower brought the pretzel to America. Pretzels have been a part of Easter traditions and were even hidden in the same way as Easter eggs. Pretzels spread to Germany, and the Germans eventually brought them to Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna Valley.
Pennsylvania is still king of pretzels with 45 companies. 80 percent of the pretzels sold in the U.S. are made in Pennsylvania.
The average soft pretzel contains anywhere from 300 to 500 calories…they’re high in carbs, low in protein but contain some B vitamins. The current Guinness World Record holder was baked in El Slavador. 17 hundred pounds and 13 feet wide.
We made pretzels entirely by hand until the first pretzel machine came along in 1935. Then you had 250 pretzels per minute.
Americans on average eat around 2 pounds of pretzels year, Philadelphians eat about 12 pounds per year!