Pretzels, a European snack that made its way into American culture.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A pretzel (listen (help·info)) (German: Breze(l)) (listen (help·info)) is a type of baked bread product made from dough most commonly shaped into a twisted knot. The traditional pretzel shape is a distinctive symmetrical form, with the ends of a long strip of dough intertwined and then twisted back into itself in a certain way (a pretzel loop). In modern times, pretzels come in a range of different shapes.
Salt is the most common seasoning for pretzels, complementing the washing soda or lye treatment that gives pretzels their traditional skin and flavor through the Maillard reaction; other seasonings include various cheeses, sugars, chocolate, glazes, seeds, or nuts. There are several varieties of pretzels, including soft pretzels, which must be eaten shortly after preparation, and hard-baked pretzels, which have a long shelf life. 
Although popular stories claim that the pretzel was invented by a Christian monk to represent arms crossed in prayer to the Trinity, they actually originated in Europe centuries prior to Christ’s birth.
Pretzels in USA
In the late 18th century, southern German and Swiss German immigrants introduced the pretzel to North America. The immigrants became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch, and in time, many handmade pretzel bakeries populated the central Pennsylvania countryside, and the pretzel’s popularity spread.
In the 20th century, soft pretzels became popular in other regions of the United States. Cities such as Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York became renowned for their soft pretzels. The key to success was the introduction of the new mass production methods of the industrialized age, which increased the availability and quantity, and the opening up of multiple points of distribution at schools, convenience and grocery stores, and entertainment venues such as movie theaters, arenas, concert halls, and sport stadiums. Prior to that, street vendors used to sell pretzels on street corners in wooden glass-enclosed cases.
The most popular brands of pretzels in U.S. are:
The most common packaging type that pretzels are found is pillow bags.