A Dutch painting from 1681 that depicts a baker selling, among other things, pretzels. As I mentioned back in January when I was blogging on the subject, the shape of the pretzel is a hotly debated subject. There is seemingly no end to the cock-and-bull stories that purport to explain it. Here, however, is some very interesting documentary evidence that would seem to indicate the reason for the looped shape: so pretzels could be hung on racks for sale. Notice that the pretzels in the painting seem more figure 8-shaped than the almost heart-shaped pretzels that we know today…also interesting. Back then, this would have been just one among many different shapes of pretzel, however if utility was indeed the reason for the pretzel’s shape, not wedding symbolism, arms-folded-at-prayer imagery or other such folderol, it’s easy to see why this one would have endured. Thanks to Jim of Chez Jim!