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Friday, 3 April 2015


The Crusaders brought the first samples to Europe of gingerbread. They were among a hitherto unknown series of foods that would become its essential ingredients—spices, sugars, almonds and citrus fruits.

Catholic monks began to bake gingerbread for saints’ days and festivals, constructing it into specially designed theme "cakes." Often depicting celebrated saints and religious motifs, they depended on large and elaborately-carved "cookie boards" that impressed an all-over surface pattern onto a fairly stiff rolled dough.

The first gingerbread men are said to have been made for Queen Elizabeth I's amusement, molded into the image of her court favorites then devoured at royal feasts.

Gingerbread houses became popular in 1812 after the Brothers Grimm published Hansel and Gretel, two children who, abandoned in the woods by penniless parents, discovered a cottage made of gingerbread and cakes.

The world's largest ever gingerbread house topped out at 2,520 square feet and contained 35.8 million calories. Built in 2013 by a group in Bryan, Texas, USA in aid of a hospital trauma centre, its ingredients included 2,925 pounds (1,327 kg) of brown sugar, 1,800 pounds (820 kg) of butter, 7,200 eggs and 7,200 pounds (3,300 kg) of general purpose flour.

Sources, Food For Thought by Ed Pearce

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