Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. As I mentioned in my post last month, I have a new book out right now, The Holiday Courtship. In one of the scenes in the book, my heroine and several other characters are constructing and decorating gingerbread houses. So for today’s post I thought I’d share a little history and trivia surrounding gingerbread and gingerbread creations.
- In ancient times, Greeks and Egyptians utilized gingerbread for various ceremonial purposes.
- Gingerbread is thought to have been brought to Europe from the East in the late 10th century by a monk for medicinal purposes. He promoted its use to treat indigestion and other stomach ailments. For a time, monks were the only people in Europe who made gingerbread, and they often created them in the shapes of saints and angels.
- Responsibility for the first gingerbread men has been credited to Queen Elizabeth I. In preparation for a state event, she had her bakers shape them to resemble visiting dignitaries and then she presented the treat to them as gifts.
- Gingerbread houses became overwhelmingly popular in Germany in the 19th century as a direct result of the Brothers Grimm publishing the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale. In fact, it was the early German settlers who brought this tradition to America.
- The hallmark of a true gingerbread is not only that ginger is the dominant flavor, but it must use either honey or molasses as the sweetener. Other than that, there is no one standard recipe for gingerbread. In fact, according to one statistic, if you search Google for gingerbread cookie recipe, you will find over a million versions.
- There is a town in Norway, where every year the citizens create an entire city made from gingerbread houses .
- The world’s largest gingerbread house was constructed in 2001 and stood approximately 67 feet high. It utilized 1,800 Hershey bars, 1,200 feet of Twizzlers, 100 pounds of tootsie rolls, and thousands of other pieces of candy as decorations. The construction took nine days to complete and it and was housed at the Mall of America in Minnesota.
- There are a number of superstitions involving gingerbread. Here are just a couple of them:
- Swedish tradition says that if you put the gingerbread in your palm, make a wish and then break the gingerbread with your other hand, if it breaks into exactly three pieces, then the wish will come true.
- In England, single women have been known to eat gingerbread “husbands”, hoping it will bring them luck in meeting their future spouse.
There you have it, just a little of the history and lore surrounding this yummy treat.
So do you like gingerbread? Do you have any hands-on experience constructing gingerbread houses or making gingerbread men?
Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing for a copy of my new book or any book from my backlist.
THE HOLIDAY COURTSHIP
He Wanted A Wife by Christmas…
As Christmas approaches, Hank Chandler is determined to find a wife to mother his sister’s orphaned children. When schoolteacher Janell Whitman offers to help him with his niece and nephew, she seems to be the perfect match—but she won’t accept his proposal. Instead, she insists she’ll find him another bride before the holidays.
Janell moved to Turnabout, Texas, to put her past behind her and focus on her future—one that doesn’t include marriage. But while she plays matchmaker and cares for Hank’s children, she loses her heart to the two youngsters…and their adoptive father. If Janell reveals her secrets to Hank, will he still want her to be his Christmas bride?