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Saturation Point

Gingerbread Houses
By Karey Burek
Dec 11, 2008 - 10:13:14 AM

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Gingerbread houses at the Polynesian Resort in Walt Disney World Karey Burek Photos

I have tried in the past to build gingerbread houses around the holidays to no great success. I buy the kit and mix the frosting and stick the gingerbread, decorating doors and roofs with gumdrops only to watch the structure implode. At that point I am forced to eat the evidence, gooey glue and all.

Ginger in itself is a wonderful spice that supposedly originated from Indo-Malaysia, and was proven to soothe upset stomachs.  I have sipped my share of gingerale during bouts of nausea, burping the sickness right out of my body because of the ginger. According to, in the eleventh century, pilgrims and soldiers introduced ginger to Europeans.  The English then created ginger candy. About 200 years later, a new innovation, breadcrumbs, were added to the ginger candy and a form of gingerbread was created.  Over time, the recipe was refined and it is now a delicacy that is a crisp and flat cookie used to build gingerbread houses.

The building of gingerbread houses is such an intricate skill that it was actually deemed a profession and in the seventeenth century they acquired the exclusive rights to making the gingerbread buildings; except on Christmas and Easter when it was open to everyone.  ­According to, ginger­bread making in the United States began when the Northern ­European settlers brought family recipes and customs to North America. Although American recipes don’t use as many spices because of what was readily available at the time of gingerbread inception in the US.

Even though I have failed in the past to successfully complete and show my gingerbread creation, I am once again going to try to glue the house together and hopefully make it stick.

© Copyright 2008 by The Observer News Publications and M&M Printing Company, Inc.

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