Pretzel Myth 4: The “Get Out of Jail Free” Bread

I love this one for the sheer inventiveness of it. It regards a young baker (variously referred to as an Italian, a German, Frenchman, even a colonial American) falsely accused of a crime (usually theft or fraud). The poor fellow is called before the local magistrate and sentenced to prison — with one caveat. If, by the dawn of the following day, he can produce a baked good through which the sun can be viewed three different ways, he’d be allowed to go free. Evidently there was a demand for this sort of thing wherever he lived. The baker goes home to his shop, stays up all night working, and comes back the next day with a pretzel. Why he didn’t just poke three holes in a hamburger bun I have no idea. But the magistrate is pleased, the baker is released, and the pretzel is born. In one variation of the story, the false accusation occurs at Easter time, with the baker being commanded to produce a bread that represents the Trinity. Either way it’s completely ridiculous.

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