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The gingerbread housing market

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!

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14 Comments

Carrie • December 24, 2007 at 9:49 am

I’m laughing so hard at this post. I always wanted one for the same reason as you. When my friend and I were in middle school there were no such things as kits and we tried to make one from scratch. Oh. My. God. Impossible!

This year I have a toddler and decided I could handle a kit. I had the same experience as you. I was not meant to be a decorator. And the candy was gross. No chocolate!

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Flora • December 24, 2007 at 10:45 am

Mmmm… gumdrops…

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Penny • December 24, 2007 at 11:47 am

Hi,

As a child, my parents didn’t celebrate Christmas, so I was about 20 by the time I had a chance to make a gingerbread house for the first time. I made it for alot of the same reasons as you listed, and it was so much fun to share the building with my younger sister.

It turned out less then perfect, and it tasted horrible! When I have a child, I will probably venture into gingerbread house land again just for the memories, but otherwise, warm gingerbread cookies from the oven are definately going to be my first choice.

I just started reading your blog, and I’m already really enjoying it. Thank you, and have a wonderful holiday!

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psychsarah • December 24, 2007 at 1:36 pm

Tee hee! I love it! My husband and I made a gingerbread house last night (from a kit) and I had gut rot by bedtime from all the candy I “embezzled”! Merry Christmas PQ!

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Katharine • December 24, 2007 at 1:54 pm

The roof is much easier to handle if you first bevel the edges that will meet—that is, bevel the edges of the two roof parts that will meet each other and also bevel the edgs of the roof parts where they will meet the edges of the walls. My cabinetmaker husband did this by using a cheese grater on the appropriate eges. ;-)

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Katharine • December 24, 2007 at 1:55 pm

Geez! I do know how to spell “edges.” How embarrassing!

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TOWR • December 24, 2007 at 2:37 pm

Yeah, gingerbread houses are kind of pointless. I’d much rather eat the building supplies than the actual finished product. They’re fun to make, though…

Happy Christmas and New Year!!

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Debbi • December 24, 2007 at 3:23 pm

I leave gingerbread house building to the experts. I may have tried making one once, but surely it must have been a disaster, or I’d keep making them.

A very merry Christmas to you! I know 2008 holds much promise for you.

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Janice Bridge • December 24, 2007 at 5:51 pm

heheheh PQ, I love this. . . yes – eat the building supplies quickly, and decrease the gingerbread people population with glee

Merry Christmas

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n.b. • December 24, 2007 at 9:29 pm

Merry Christmas Pasta Queen. May many little gingerbread folk run in fear from you this holiday season!

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Juli • December 24, 2007 at 10:15 pm

I’ve never had the inclination to make one of these or eat the building materials :)

Did enjoy your post though and even feel sorry for all the gingerbread people :)

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you

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Liz in Ohio • December 24, 2007 at 10:34 pm

Happy holidays to you and your family PQ!

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Zentient • December 26, 2007 at 8:52 am

Take an empty clean pint milk carton, cover it with graham crackers glued on with frosting, and proceed to decorate. Easy way to make a gingerbread house.

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Shelley • January 7, 2008 at 7:54 pm

Hiya Queen,

I found your blog through a comment on Manic’s blog. You are definitely inspiring, and I really need to get off my ass and get moving. I’m hoping that reading some of your back entries help. :) Congratulations on all your success!

The gingerbread house thing is funny. I just bought two kits at Target for something fun for my kids to do, because they were 90 PERCENT OFF! Yeah, 90% clearance at Target is a big thing for me. So what if it’s after Christmas? Hee. The kids loved making the house and the train, but I ate most of the train, and the house is sitting on my counter right now for the exact same reason you described: I wasn’t sure how to eat a house. I almost broke a piece off the roof last night, but then it wouldn’t look nice, and my daughter actually did a really good job on it. I think the secret is you have to be 12, and crafty. I know the roof never would have stayed on for me. I think I need to throw it out soon, before I figure out how to eat it.

PQ – Believe me, I am familiar with the 90% off brain fever :) My family always bought Christmas candy at discount after the holidays. And a train? Wow! I didn’t know they sold gingerbread trains.

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog at JennetteFulda.com.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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