Bless me father, for I have snacked

Presented for your consideration, a portrait of my all time favorite snack. Yes, I am a pretzel addict. I like chips but could pass them up. Candy? I have only a vague interest. I can even pass up chocolate. But I absolutely adore pretzels, a taste acquired, I’m sure, from my Pennsylvania Dutch forbears.

Here are a few interesting tidbits I’ve heard about pretzels. They were supposedly first made by a medieval monk who twisted the dough to resemble the arms crossed across the breast in prayer (that was a typical posture at the time, and you will occasionally see that gesture on old paintings.) These twisted dough snacks were given as a reward to good children who learned their prayers. The word origin variously is “pretiola” (little prayer) preziola (little present) or “brachiola” (little arm). Perhaps the word emerged from a synthesis of the three ideas. The three holes formed in the twist refers to the three parts of the Christian trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit.)

One legend says that a pretzel was used during marriage ceremonies, and was broken and consumed by bride and groom to symbolize their union.

My personal favorite is the Rold Gold brand, but they changed the formula 15 or so years ago and it’s never been quite the same. It’s still better than others to my taste, though.

This picture was painted in my Canson Montval wc journal with tube paints. Actual size of the pretzel itself is about 4.5 in. x 2.5″


  1. r.e.wolf
    July 31, 2006

    When your post popped up in my feed-reader, my first thought was “Why did she take a photo of a pretzel?” It’s really THAT good!

    This painting has inspired me… to go buy pretzels, because I eat better than I paint.

  2. Karen
    July 31, 2006

    Bless you, Ryan, for you have made my day! So … what’s your pretzel brand of choice? And do you like the beer pretzels, twists or sticks?

  3. lin
    July 31, 2006

    LOVELY, Karen!! As all the information!!! IT DOES LOOK GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT!!

  4. TeriC
    July 31, 2006

    I thought you posted a photo of a pretzel also. I eat them because they are allowed when watching your cholesterol. Fun info about them!

  5. Linda
    July 31, 2006

    What a great painting, and fun information about one of my favorite snacks, too! :-)

  6. Suzanne
    July 31, 2006

    You have to try These are hand made in the Lancaster area of Pa.
    We travel there about 2 times a year and always have to bring home a tub. You can’t find them anywhere but a few
    stores in the area, but they sell from their website too. Love them! A bit fatter than your pretzel, Karen. And yours will never
    make us thirsty.

  7. Karen
    July 31, 2006

    Thanks everyone.

    Ryan, oh those peanut butter filled ones, yes, decadent certainly. Trader Joes carries them I think. Snyders are good, too, although I think I still prefer the classic twist best of all.

    Suzanne, I will look into hammondspretzels. Somewhere the perfect pretzel exists. I love salt. It is surely not good for me but I love it anyway. Margaritas are my favorite mixed drink on those rare occasions I drink anything with distilled spirits. Margaritas and pretzels.

    Due to a language learning input error or ‘only half listening to parents’ error, one of the children in our family called pretzels “krensos” until she/he was well out of toddlerhood. The name “krenso” is a distinctive Wintersian term which will probably find its way into some dictionary some day: origin unknown.

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