Salty Celebration: This Sunday is National Pretzel Day

Oh Dear Lord. April 26 is this Sunday, and we haven't even rented our tuxedo yet.

In case you've been living under a rock on the moon with both fingers in your ears going "LALALALALALA," April 26 is National Pretzel Day, a day when we all put aside our differences and join together in admiration of the twisty, salted flatbread.

We're being facetious of course; anyone who has attended past National Pretzel Day rallies knows of the fierce, bitter Hard Pretzel vs. Soft Pretzel debate that still threatens to rip the pretzel community asunder. And who could forget the day that will live forever in infamy: April 26, 2003, when several groups of Doughboys (a small but growing cell of militant youths who believe sourdough is the only acceptable pretzeled bread) fire-bombed pretzel stands in five cities across the United States? We've all been subjected to the photos of twisted, blackened pretzels ad nauseum in the media, so we'll spare you.

Instead, to instill a sense of positivity and whimsy into the increasingly political world of the pretzel, we'd like to share some pretzel trivia with you. Enjoy.

- Pretzels were most likely invented as early as 610 A.D. by an Italian (or German) monk to reward children for saying their prayers. He used scraps of leftover dough twisted into a shape that vaguely resembles arms crossed in prayer.

- According to Google's calorie counter - of course they have one - a plain, unsalted, soft pretzel (like the kind you get at the ball game) contains 483 calories. A snack-sized bag of little crunchy pretzels contains about 106.

- Southeastern Pennsylvania is considered to be the birthplace of the American pretzel industry. They produce 80 percent of the nation's pretzels, and the average Philadelphian consumes more than twelve times the number of pretzels as other Americans.

- If you search for "pretzel twisting" on YouTube, you'll find mostly videos of contortionists. It's really weird.

- There is a Pretzel Museum. It opened in 1993, and it's in Montreal. No, just kidding, it's in Philadelphia.

- As it stands, pretzels are the nation's second most popular snack, right behind potato chips, beating out popcorn. Well, yeah: you'll never get one of those awful kernel fragments stuck on the back of your tongue from eating pretzels.

- Largest pretzel ever baked: 40 pounds, five feet across. That's actually kind of small. Or are we just being pretzel gluttons? No, for the largest pretzel of all time, that's small. We're picturing one the size of a football field.

More good news: fresh from pretzel giants Pretzelmaker and Pretzel Time's merger, both outfits will be offering free pretzels this Sunday. Find a store near you and join in the festivities. And do be safe; remember, this day is supposed to be about the pretzels, and the pretzel lover in all of us.

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