Since I write a German food blog in English I get many recipe requests from people who have German ancestors or relatives but do not live in Germany. It’s always very interesting to read about their motivation to recreate a certain dish. They sometimes tell me about their family members who made those dishes but never passed on the recipe. Often I have never heard about their version of a certain recipe. It’s fascinating how traditional German dishes or foods have changed through adaption, other ingredients, and preparation methods. For example pretzels. The first time I heard about the US tradition to serve pretzels with mustard I thought it was super weird. In Germany sausages like bratwurst are served with mustard. But definitely not pretzels. Pretzels are served with butter. The pretzel and mustard combination was invented, so I read, in Philadelphia where soft pretzels became popular in the 19th century. Another thing I found very interesting is the fact that the German pretzel always refers to the shape of the baked good. A pretzel has to be pretzel shaped. In Northern America the name pretzel isn’t always linked to the shape though. Instead, it seems to me, the name refers to the preparation method of baked goods brushed with lye. Everything that is brushed with lye and has the distinctive dark brown colour is called a pretzel, no matter which shape.