No confection symbolizes the holidays quite like gingerbread in its many forms, from edible houses to candy-studded gingerbread men to spiced loaves of cake-like bread. In Medieval England, the term gingerbread simply meant preserved ginger and wasnt applied to the desserts we are familiar with until the 15th century. The term is now broadly used to describe any type of sweet treat that combines ginger with honey, treacle or molasses.
Ginger root was first cultivated in ancient China, where it was commonly used as a medical treatment. From there it spread to Europe via the Silk Road. During the Middle Ages it was favored as a spice for its ability to disguise the taste of preserved meats. Henry VIII is said to have used a ginger concoction in hopes of building a resistance to the plague. Even today we use ginger as an effective remedy for nausea and other stomach ailments. In Sanskrit the root was known as srigavera, which translates to root shaped like a horn a fitting name for gingers unusual appearance.
According to Rhonda Massingham Harts Making Gingerbread Houses, the first known recipe for gingerbread came from Greece in 2400 BC. Chinese recipes were developed during the 10th century and by the late Middle Ages, Europeans had their own version of gingerbread. The hard cookies, sometimes gilded with gold leaf and shaped like animals, kings and queens, were a staple at Medieval fairs in England, France, Holland and Germany. Queen Elizabeth I is credited with the idea of decorating the cookies in this fashion, after she had some made to resemble the dignitaries visiting her court. Over time some of these festivals came to be known as Gingerbread Fairs, and the gingerbread cookies served there were known as ‘fairings.’ The shapes of the gingerbread changed with the season, including flowers in the spring and birds in the fall. Elaborately decorated gingerbread became synonymous with all things fancy and elegant in England. The gold leaf that was often used to decorate gingerbread cookies led to the popular expression to take the gilt off of gingerbread. The carved, white architectural details found on many colonial American seaside homes is sometimes referred to as gingerbread work.
Public domain image from the book, Dramatic Reader For Lower Grades, by Florence Holbrook, Copyright 1911, page 118. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Gingerbread houses originated in Germany during the 16th century. The elaborate cookie-walled houses, decorated with foil in addition to gold leaf, became associated with Christmas tradition. Their popularity rose when the Brothers Grimm wrote the story of Hansel and Gretel, in which the main characters stumble upon a house made entirely of treats deep in the forest. It is unclear whether or not gingerbread houses were a result of the popular fairy tale, or vice versa.
Recently the record for worlds largest gingerbread house was broken. The previous record was set by the Mall of America in 2006. The new winning gingerbread house, spanning nearly 40,000 cubic feet, was erected at Traditions Golf Club in Bryan, Texas. The house required a building permit and was built much like a traditional house. 4,000 gingerbread bricks were used during its construction. To put that in perspective, a recipe for a house this size would include 1,800 pounds of butter and 1,080 ounces of ground ginger. Sounds more like a gingerbread resort!
The Florida Chapter Christmas Party is on December 28, 2019. See their thread for details to crash the party or join the fun!!
Birthdays/anniversaries we are celebrating this week:
Monday: metallicsilverhemi - Chad from Ohio
Tuesday: azhemi - Scot from Arizona
Thursday: JKramer5447 - Joe from Pennsylvania
If it's your birthday/anniversary/special occasion let us know and we will celebrate with you.
Chatroom is back!! Join us every Thursday evening at 7:00 CST for chatroom. See what going on with the rest of the HTC'ers.
If you have a prayer request you would like to share either add it to this thread or PM me.
*HemiSuperbee - Mark - health concerns
*Rancher - Doug said to take him off the list but I think a quick prayer for his general health issues isn't a bad idea
*Doc's mother - recent fall resulting in fractured femur & surgery
*BlackTRX - Roy - new cancer diagnosis
*Studmuffin - Morris' brother-in-law, David, with liver failure
*boedacres - Steve - health issues including diabetes
*SuperBee - John & his wife - health issues
Have a great week!