Some of us have an attachment to pretzels. They are easy to munch as a snack. Many airlines have resorted to pretzel snacks in the wake of so many peanut allergies and they are not as messy as chips or sticky candy when the kids need a little something to tide them over between meals. There is a video (I wish I could find it for you) that shows a tot all upset because her mother would not give her pretzels from the box on the shelf. The box did not contain pretzels, only sandwich bags and there was no appeasing her.
In the season of Lent when so many have given up chocolate or sweets until Easter, pretzels make a convenient substitute. Developed by a German monk in the shape of crossed arms as a visual reminder to pray, the snack has become Lenten favorite. I have had students make them as part of devotion time.
The German pretzel tradition traveled to America with the immigrants in the early 19th century. The earliest still operational pretzel bakery in the US is the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery in Lititz, PA. Julius Sturgis arrived from Germany in 1861 at the age of 26. He purchased a stone house on Main Street which dates to 1784. It became his home and bakery. The Sturgis family still runs the business using the same timeless recipe. They have soft and hard versions and welcome visitors to tour the bakery and the antique machinery. They even teach you to how to sculpt the perfect pretzel. Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery – Lititz, Pennsylvania – Gastro Obscura (atlasobscura.com)
If you live nearby, you may want to trek over there. If you live too far, try making a batch of pretzels yourself a different treat. The easiest way I have found to do this is to buy some frozen bread dough. Let it thaw and rise only part way. Take a ball of dough about 2″ and roll it out as a “snake” or “worm”. Swing each end around like a bow and bake according to the package information. We usually brush some egg white and sprinkle with salt before baking. Don’t worry if they do not look perfect, they will be yummy anyway.