The week ahead on National Day Calendar is full of the crusty comfort foods that come fresh from the oven. National Day Flavor will feature National Pretzel Day but start the oven for National Cherry Cheese Cake Day and keep it on for National Blueberry Pie Day, National Zucchini Bread Day and more! We can also begin the week with a leisurely picnic. Check out the tips for delicious and easy picnics. Let’s get started!
NATIONAL PRETZEL DAY
National Pretzel Day is observed annually on April 26. A bag of nice crunchy, salty pretzels or a big, warm, soft, cinnamon pretzel is the question of the day. Either one is an excellent choice.
There are a few different accounts of the origin of the pretzel. Most people agree that it does have a Christian background, and they were developed by the monks. According to The History of Science and Technology, in 610 AD, “an Italian monk invents pretzels as a reward to children who learn their prayers. He calls the strips of baked dough, folded to resemble arms crossing the chest, pretiola (little rewards).”
Another source puts the invention in a monastery in southern France. The looped pretzel may also be related to a Greek Ring bread from the communion bread used in monasteries a thousand years ago. In the Catholic Church, pretzels had a religious significance for both ingredients and shape. The loops in pretzel may have served a practical purpose: bakers could hang them on sticks, projecting upwards from a central column, as shown in Job Berckheyde’s (1681) painting.
The Pennsylvania Dutch immigrants introduced pretzels to North America in the 19th century. At this time, many handmade pretzel bakeries populated central Pennsylvania, and their popularity quickly spread.
It was in the 20th century that soft pretzels were very popular in areas such as Philadelphia, Chicago and New York.
- Today, the average Philadelphian consumes about twelve times as many pretzels as the national average.
- Pennsylvania is the center of American pretzel production for both hard and soft pretzels, producing 80% of the nation’s pretzels.
- The annual United States pretzel industry is worth over $550 million.
- The average American consumes about 1.5 pounds of pretzels per year.
- Philadelphia opened a privately run “Pretzel Museum” in 1993.
- Hard pretzels originated in the United States in 1850.
Picnics are light, laid back and often spur of the moment events. For planners of the world who have begun tallying the must haves, can’t-do-withouts and predict catastrophe, relax. We got this.
- Keep it simple – finger foods only. Food that comes in their own wrappers doesn’t require containers. Fruit and vegetables are best.
- Keep it cool – Make sandwiches by adding cold cuts and cheeses from the deli. They are easy to store and keep cold in a cooler.
- Keep it hydrated – Bring the gang’s favorite beverages but make sure to keep plenty of H2O on ice.
- Keep it fun – A frisbee, a book, radio, a blanket for the gang to relax on, and a small first aid kit (just in case).
- Keep it clean – Toss in a package of baby wipes to clean everyone up before and after and something to tote away the garbage and recyclables. You’re all set!
1 envelope yeast
1½ cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons baking soda
In large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add dry ingredients. Add enough water to make the dough tacky and then knead the dough until a ball forms. Cover and let rise in a warm space until double in size.
Divide dough into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope about 18 inches long. Form a circle with the two ends at the top. Loosely twist the two ends together twice. Draw the twisted end down to the bottom of the circle to form the pretzel.
Pre-heat oven to 475° F. Bring the water and baking soda to a boil and dip each pretzel in the water for 30 – 60 seconds. Remove and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Monday, April 24
National Pigs in a Blanket Day
Tuesday, April 25
National Zucchini Bread Day
Wednesday, April 26
National Pretzel Day
Thursday, April 27
National Prime Rib Day
Friday, April 28
National Blueberry Pie Day
Saturday, April 29
National Shrimp Scampi Day
‘Never plan a picnic’ Father said. ‘Plan a dinner, yes, or a house, or a budget, or an appointment with the dentist, but never, never plan a picnic’ ~Elizabeth Enright, The Four-Story Mistake
About National Day Calendar
Founded in 2013 in the historic town of Mandan, North Dakota, National Day Calendar began as a kernel of curiosity that exploded into a growing collection of ways to Celebrate. Every Day, founder Marlo Anderson and his team seek out all the daily, weekly and monthly observations and celebrations to keep you up to date and informed. Through daily updates, social media, mobile applications and much more, National Day Calendar helps you #CelebrateEveryDay!
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