Pretzel Myth 3: A Bear Ate My Bagel

A radically different story about the origin of pretzels credits American Indians, who as the story goes had an ingenious method for preventing animals from making off with surplus wheat. They’d store it in rings of unleavened dough that they baked on hot rocks, then strung over the branches of trees a dozen or more feet up. The big problem with this story of course is that Native Americans had never seen wheat before European colonists arrived. The go-to cereal grain of the Native Americans was corn, which, having no gluten, does not make sturdy dough or finished bread. Certainly not of the kind that could dangle indefinitely in trees. And anyway, what about squirrels and birds?

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