Period Gingerbread Men, The Story Behind Our Annual Mass Cookie Carnage

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Feb 14, 2012
Central Pennsylvania
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Illustration is turn of the century, children's tale " The Gingerbread Boy " dates from quite a few decades previously. You couldn't trip over a school ' primer ' not containing the moral tale of a childless couple so desperate for a son, he was baked into existence.

It's not a happy story, son seems to have vaulted from the oven, run away from home. Chased uphill and all those dales by his parents, encountering various hazards in the form of animals with penchants for a good chunk of gingerbread, he's finally caught. After 50K in attorney fees, diagnosed with ADHD, school finally relented and gave him that IEP. Oh wait, wrong story. Boy is outwitted by a fox, who has a snack. You could see where lies the confusion.


Godey's, 1861. ' Cut into shapes ', decorated, you can see the traditional cookie we love taking shape.

Gingerbread has been around for awhile as one of our best loved desserts. It's a little tough finding recipes for the now traditional Gingerbread Man making once-a-year cannibals of all of us- but he was around, too. In 2018 you can find plenty of Gingerbread females but really, it's just not the same.

Legend has it ( and who knows if it's true ) cranky, old Queen Elizabeth is documented as having gingerbread likenesses made of her court. That would date the Gingerbread men at least to somewhere around the second half of the 1500's. And it may be true. The thing is, really, is this the face of someone who indulged humor in any form?

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Two centuries later, the famous London street vendors included someone selling gingerbread. The Gingerbread Man of the streets was flesh and blood, one of a throng selling brooms, flowers, fruit, walking sticks or heck, fish.

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From ' Cries of London ", 1820. This fellow is The Cake Man, an image of The Gingerbread Man must have seemed redundant- he's not illustrated in this volume.

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Godey's, 1861, following a recipe around for too long to track down ( although someone better at research has probably done it )

Louisa May Alcott's book, The Candy Country features a man made of gingerbread who proves to be wise counselor to a young girl lost amongst a mountainous, sugary landscape.

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So they've been around each holiday season. November 17th was Gingerbread Man day, who knew? I can't post the recipe, not sure how old it is, been making these for years and years- so far, have not lost any leaping from windows but the dogs may or may not have stood in for the folklore fox.

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It's ok, photo rights mine and really uninterested in protecting it. These smaller sizes are difficult to pipe but they taste just fine.

Happy Belated Gingerbread Man Day.

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First Sergeant
Nov 27, 2018
Chattanooga, Tennessee
I was sort of hoping you would post a second picture of yours with the heads bitten off. And the Queen, if you could paste a milk mustache to her upper lip, with just a small dribble down her chin. It started with the Stick Cut double active verb on the candied orange recipe #1.
Williamsburg Virginia has a Ginger Bread House.
Yours humorously (without possessive apostrophe),

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