I·ATE Food Term of the Week: Brezel and Simit

November 23, 2019 9:46 am

Food terminology brezel simit

Flour, water and yeast. When you mix them, you have the miracle called bread! Now put some sugar, salt and butter to create a dedicated brezel, or using the same ingredients and replacing the butter with oil you create an original simit. Brezel and simit represent the importance of simplicity in gastronomy. A very basic homemade dough becomes the centre of your lunch containing cheese, cold cuts, and vegetables. These two snacks are the kings of street food in their countries, where you can find them in very expensive delicatessen or you can buy them by a street vendor.


The brezel was the first food I wanted to taste during my vacations in Germany. But when I will visit the rest of European countries, I will search for the preclík in Czech Republic, the viipurinrinkeli in Finland, the praclík in Slovakia, the precel in Poland, the perec in Hungary and in Croatia, the pereca in Serbia and the covrigi in Romania. All these are savoury types of the pretzel. In addition, there are some sweet kinds of pretzel like the Dutch krakeling, the Norwegian and Danish kringle and the Swedish kringle.

The german word for brezel derives from Middle High German brēzel, prēzel, from Old High German brēzila, brezzitella, from Medieval Latin bracellus, alteration of Medieval Latin *brāchiātellus, diminutive of Latin bracchiātus, having branches like arms (in reference to the traditional form of a pretzel said to be made to look like arms folded in prayer), from bracchium, arm, from Greek brakhīōn, upper arm.


Let us go to the East. To be more specific, to Turkey, where they made the simit. In Greece we call it koulouri (κουλούρι), in South Slavic countries they call it gevrek and in Romania covrig. Maybe you know it as Turkish bagel. I have never tried the Turkish version but I suppose there is no much difference. I used to eat koulouri in the morning., I was buying it either in  some bakery or from  a street vendor. For me it is a comfort food carrying the advantages of street food.


From etymology scope, the term κουλουρι comes from the Ancient Greek κολλύρα (kollúra), from Ancient Greek κολλύριον (kollúrion) (plaster, ointment). The Turkish word of simit is borrowed from Ottoman Turkish word for simit, from the Persian semid, “semolina”, from the Arabic samīd, “semolina”, from the Aramaic סְמִידָא‎ /‎ ܣܡܻܝܕܳܐ‎ (səmīḏā), from the Akkadian /samīdu/, “a type of fine groats, coarse flour, semolina”, related to Akkadian /samādu/, “to grind fine”.


Simit, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simit, Accessed on 21 November

Κουλούρι, Wikipedia, https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/koulouri, Accessed on 21 November

Brezel, Wikipedia, https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brezel, Accessed on 21 November

Brezel, Dictionary, https://ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=pretzel, Accessed on 21 November

Κουλούρι Etymology, Wikipedia, https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%CE%BA%CE%BF%CF%85%CE%BB%CE%BF%CF%8D%CF%81%CE%B9 Accessed on 21 November

Simit Etymology, Google search, https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-e&q=simit+etymology, Accessed on 21 November

antonia pappa

Antonia Pappa – Communication trainee at the Terminology Unit

Born in Greece in 1992. She holds a Bachelor degree of Communication, Culture and Media and she worked, for three years, for a newspaper and food magazines in Greece. Antonia is now taking a Master’s degree in International Marketing and Communication and is working her thesis about social media advertising. In her free time, she likes travelling, doing yoga and going for a walk with her dog.

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