I am originally from New Jersey, so Philadelphia soft pretzels were a common snack both at home and at school when I was growing up. Soft pretzels, however, are a rare commodity up here in Canada.
After reading about the history of pretzels in Kathleen Basi’s book, Bring Lent to Life, I decided to make this a Lenten project. Yesterday, my son and I spent the afternoon making soft pretzels. Twisting the dough just right was a bit of a challenge, but we were both pleased with how our first batch of pretzels turned out. They not only looked pretty good, they also tasted great!
According to some sources, the shape of pretzels was meant to illustrate arms crossed in prayer.
Years ago, during Lent, the faithful were called to abstain from meat, eggs, milk and butter. Pretzels were an ideal food to eat because it was free of these ingredients. We used a recipe similar to this recipe, except we did not use butter.
This link has more information about the history of the pretzel.
Text copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach
Photo copyright 2012 James Hrkach
I had no idea that pretzels could play a role in the Lenten experience. Very cool!! 🙂
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A week or two ago I read about having a “pretzel party” for a playdate. I thought that was a fun idea.
Sounds like a great idea, Kate!
Thanks for the posting. I shared the whole pretzel story with the CCD kids.
I think some of the Eastern Rites still abstain from all those things: meat, eggs, butter, et al.
Thanks for the post!
I love pretzels, but since I’m gluten free I have to abstain – sort of a permanent penance imposed by the Lord is how I look at it. No cakes, cookies, pizza, etc. Of course, there are a lot of gluten free grains and now you can get them at the grocery more easily, but nothing beats the taste of wheat flour.
P.S. Your pretzels look just delicious!
Thanks, Barb, they were delicious! I agree that nothing beats the taste of wheat flour and so sorry you can’t partake.
Oh, what a great idea! I think my son would get a kick out of making homemade pretzels. 🙂
Be ready for a messy kitchen, Carol! But they were great fun to make and eat!