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That’s what GINGERBREAD is made of!!!

 

On of my favorite parts of Christmas involves Gingerbread.  Gingerbread cookies, Gingerbread men, Gingerbread houses, Gingerbread Trifle, Pfeffernüsse . . .

 

Like so many of Christmas traditions we have embraced over the decades, gingerbread it appears has come to us through the door of Germany. Ginger, of course, is of Asian decent and came to Europe sometime between 900 and 1300 likely on the Silk Road though no one knows for sure. In any event, gingerbread has been found in European cookbooks as early as the 1500s. Gingerbread is used to describe both a “cake” like cookie or loaf as well as the firmer textured gingerbread cookie that forms the gingerbread man that we are familiar with today. The consistent in gingerbread is its spicy flavour and aroma.
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It appears that the Germans used a base of honey and a mixture of spices to create their confections while sometime later in England and Scotland, molasses was substituted for the honey and ginger and cinnamon were added to form the base. Gingerbread cookies appear to have been first created in Germany and were made in many shapes just like the glass Christmas tree ornaments, including stars, fruit and animals. As the cookies became more prevalent in England, it is said that Queen Elizabeth I requested that gingerbread cookies be made in the shapes of visiting dignitaries. It may be from this event that we have what is today known as the gingerbread man.

 

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The gingerbread house is it own tradition and was very serious business. Historians debate the date of the first gingerbread house; some believe it debuted in Germany in the early 1600s and others believe that it was around 1800 at the same time as the publication of the Brothers Grimm’s collection of fairy tales. Which came first, the house or the story, we may never know. However, it is quite possible that the gingerbread house was the creation of German pastry chefs based on the story of Hansel and Gretel and the sugar house they came upon in the forest. Regardless of the century chefs would bake up Lebkuchen (gingerbread cookies) and shape them into houses and then hire artists and craftsmen to transform them into works of art, often time gilding the cookies in gold.

During this time in Germany and France the baking and decorating of the gingerbread became recognized as a profession and only professional Gingerbread Bakers were permitted to bake and decorate the confection. Those rules relaxed a little around Easter and Christmas when common bakers were permitted to bake gingerbread. It may be due to this that the decorating of the houses became popular during the Christmas season.
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Centuries later anyone who is willing may bake up a batch of the flavourful cookies and decorate to their heart’s content. Here is a link to my favourite gingerbread cookie.  Martha Stewart’s Gingerbread

 Much more than gingerbread, from the first Adam to the last Adam.

The Lord formed man from the dust of the earth (and not merely from flour, honey and spices) and breathed life on him and man became a living thing and the Word became flesh and lived among us and we saw His glory.

Gen 2.7; John 1.14

From the creation of Adam in Genesis, though the blood line of David, down through divergent branches to both Mary and Joseph, came the living Word. The Word made flesh. The Word that lived among us. The Word that was born a vulnerable baby and worshiped by the poor and wealthy alike. The Word that in turn (if we choose it) breathes new life on us and transforms us to living things.

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Enjoy.

Merry Edible Christmas.

 

For those of you wondering, Pfeffernüsse (and Peppernuts) are all derivatives of the original gingerbread cookie created so many years ago.  Pfeffernüsse hails from Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.

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Foodtimeline.org/christmasfood.html (2015 12 08) (Web)
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/44634686@N00/1307079264″>Winchester Gingerbread House</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/33277708@N00/2068242134″>Gingerbread House — front and side</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/95142644@N00/8279076373″>Pink Edwardian gingerbread</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/75898532@N00/3110094510″>Gingerbread Army</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/69826987@N00/814863362″>Rebirth</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/76095793@N00/6565733267″>Gingerbread cutout cookies Part 2 (Exhibit A)</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

 

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