December 24, 2007 at 8:45 am
I bought a gingerbread house kit as a kid for all the wrong reasons. Maybe there aren’t any “right” reasons to build gingerbread houses, unless you’re part of Habitat for Humanity for homeless gingerbread men and gingerbread women, but I wanted to build one because they look so tasty and delicious. I had visions of snacking happily on iced roofs and gumdrop bushes, but one thing Hansel and Gretel never told us: gingerbread houses are hard to eat.
I bought my kit at Target back when I was in middle school. It came with prefabricated walls, a bag of frosting, and some gumdrops and peppermints for decorations. And some of those items actually did end up decorating my house, though many of them were embezzled by the contractor and ended up directly in her stomach. I was a pretty inept contractor too. Getting the roof to stay put without sliding off was a war against gravity that I did not entirely win. There are no gingerbread home inspectors, but mine surely would not have passed the checklist. All those fancy decorative details, like icicles and pretzel doors and peppermint windows look so cute but require a far more delicate hand than I had.
I would have listed my house as a fixer-upper. After a couple days of displaying it proudly, I decided to condemn the building and commence demolition. But what was I supposed to bite into? The apex of the roof? I couldn’t even pick off gum drops or candies on the walls because they were solidly glued to the sides. The most efficient approach was to smash the edifice and eat the remains. But my house had been on display so long that it was stale and not all that tasty. All in all, it was a very disappointing experience.
So, if you’re interested in food artistry, go ahead and make a gingerbread house. But if you want to eat cookies and frosting and gumdrops, just buy them at the grocery store. Or eat some gingerbread people. If we decrease the population, they won’t need all those gingerbread houses anyway.
Happy holidays, everyone!