Alas, this is our fourth and final grouping of Ginger 2016 entries! I like to call this batch: There’s a Lot of Information to Absorb Here.
Cast your vote at the bottom of the post to help determine the winner of the 2016 People’s Choice Prize. (For more information on how this competition will go down, click here.) By the way, there’s still time to win Commenter of the Year…
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cindy’s candy, candy, candy and no PLASTIC santas house
Cindy sent an essay with her Ginger 2016 entry. I tried to edit for length, but dammit, there was a lot of very important information in it. Let’s join Cindy at the mid-point of her essay…
Now that the kids are grown (but still known to be whiny), and I am retired, I decided to try my somewhat artistic hand at an entry for the local gingerbread competition. I didn’t want a run-of-the-mill gingerbread house, as every year the competition has at least 50 of those. I decided on a pop-up book type of structure. The theme was ‘Candy, Candy, Candy’, and one criteria of judging was use of candy.
I feel like there is some foreshadowing happening here. Or candyshadowing…
The book is made of layers of gingerbread. The ‘pages’ are topped by sugar sheets on which I hand lettered two sentences from the Moore poem ‘A Visit from Saint Nicholas’. The headboard is gingerbread, while the bed is Rice Krispie Treats, covered with fondant and edible lace. The figures are modeled from modeling chocolate. The figures are where many years of art classes really came into play. I’m rather proud of them.
It really is stunning, Cindy. Tell us more!
And the candy… the floor is peppermint, and M&Ms are everywhere. The rainbow ‘visions of sugarplums’ is made from SweetTart ropes, Nerds ropes, and SweetTart gummies.
In other words, you used a lot of candy, right Cindy? And this is important, because guys? I need you to brace yourselves. I need you to brace yourselves because the next part of Cindy’s essay is going to rock you to your Ginger core.
The long and the short of it is, the judges didn’t buy it. One of the run of the mill gingerbread houses, completely covered with SweetTarts, made by the woman who wins an award every year got 1st place. 2nd and 3rd, and even Honorable Mention, were… you guessed it, gingerbread houses coated in candy.
No! No, Cindy! I didn’t guess it! I didn’t guess that at all!
At least the nativity scene with a PLASTIC Santa kneeling in front of the manger (everything is supposed to be edible) didn’t win an award.
WHAT THE FRACK?! I am outraged! First off, Cindy used candy! Lots of it! Why weren’t the judges buying what Cindy was selling? Second, Cindy used that candy to build a goddamned fairy tale. YOU HEAR ME JUDGES? A rare and precious edible fairy tale in your warped Sweet Tart world. And third, that plastic Santa sounds intriguing, and I’d like someone to buy one for me immediately. (Sorry, Cindy.)
Cindy doesn’t have a blog, but did track her ginger experience on a Facebook page. Check it out!
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melissa’s gingerbread on the go
Melissa sent the following information with her “mobile gingerbread bakery in a food truck”:
I’m guessing my entry for 2016 qualifies in the “zoned commercial” category, as in “mobile gingerbread food truck” (made entirely of gingerbread). I’m wondering if you need to see my state-issued health dept. mobile food facility license (also made entirely of gingerbread – LOL!)?
Food safety is no laughing matter, Melissa. Please forward your license immediately. Also, that food truck? IT’S BLOWING MY MIND! It really is incredible. Every freaking detail!
After last year’s gravity-defying creation (Star Wars AT-AT), I wondered if I could build a box truck up “off” the street supported by an all-gingerbread chassis (disclaimer: I know absolutely nothing about vehicle parts and maintenance – just ask my husband – ha, ha!).
Well, you knew the word chassis, so that’s something.
Would it hold together? Would I even want to eat here if I ever saw such a contraption in my own neighborhood (or would I nonchalantly yet quickly cross to the other side of the street)?
Well… I need more information. What did you have for breakfast? Did you have a lot to eat the night before? At what time of day is the mobile gingerbread bakery arriving? Does the truck take debit/credit, or would you have to stop at a bank machine for cash?
These were the questions that hovered over my project, sort of like a cloud of confectioners’ sugar that gathers above the mixer when making royal icing. Yes – serious gingerbread pondering, maybe due to inhaling a bit too much of that confectioners’ sugar “dust.”
Anyway, it all turned out, especially when our son (now a seven-year-old who loves to read ALOUD) came bounding into the kitchen to observe my latest progress, plopped down at the table and exclaimed, “Oh, look! Free samples! Cookies and hot cider!” and proceeded to read the menu to me. “Do you think you’d eat at a place like this in real life?” I asked him. “Definitely!”, he replied.
Hey, Melissa, get your kid to read this aloud:
My mother is a ginger genius. Her sugary creations are filled to the brim with originality and questions only she can answer. The dust she has been inhaling may have inspired her (as many hallucinogens do), but it was determination that that ultimately made her a success. I will stop reading menus aloud, because some people find this incredibly annoying at dining establishments.
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kerri’s firehouse of heroes
On May 03/2016, our entire city was evacuated due to a wildfire that burned over 2400 homes and changed our lives forever. This Fire Station is dedicated to all the First Responders who courageously put their lives on the line for our entire city, my husband being one of the firefighters.
Kerri is referring to the Fort McMurray fires that captured all of Canada’s attention last spring. Thanks to the fire, we also learned a lot about what Albertans pack when highly stressed. But you’ll be happy to hear that Kerri says her community is stronger than ever now.
This Firehouse took me over 3 weeks to design, construct and decorate. For the brick work I spent hours outlining and filling each brick individually. I brushed a little water on each brick to give them a textured look. The windows are made up of yellow sprinkles. The Tarmac is made up of black sprinkles. I used icing gel for my lights and piped out the wreaths and greenery. I used Cadbury chocolate cookies to outline the top tower.
Okay, that fire station is amazing. A fitting tribute to the tireless heroes of Fort Mac. And what skill! Holy smoke! Kerri’s bringing the heat. Take a close look at the bricks, the greenery, and the perfectly constructed fire house sign – it makes me want to stop, drop and roll! I can’t hold a candle to your skills, Kerri. Hey, I have a burning question for you – it is too soon for fire puns in Fort McMurray? Never mind, I’ll stop. I don’t want people to get all hotty about it.
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cyndy’s 2 teaspoons of ginger and a whole lot of time
This is fondly called, “2 Teaspoons of Ginger and a whole lot of Time” because that about sums it up. A lot of sugar and time were used where as a lot more thinking should have been one of the main ingredients. It was a fun project and I’m glad that I could share it with all you who choose to ginger. This is an awesome event that is starting to become a tradition. Mark this as my third entry in a row, hopefully with many more to follow.
Oh, Cyndy! I’m so glad you’re back! And your ginger creation is masterful (as always). Look at the windows, the wee clock over the front door, the adorable shutters and decorative fascia! I think the perfectly manicured yard and impeccably maintained exterior give this mansion a lot of ginger curb appeal.
The friendly mansion door greeter is Clyde the snowman. He may look like a silent protestor, but he is proclaiming the “reason for the season.” His placard reads:
For unto you is born in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Oh boy. Now I feel like I can’t swear or say anything ungodly about Cyndy’s creation.
The last two times I entered I had so much to say and this year its “punny” that I really don’t have a lot to say.
That’s right! You usually send a full scale ginger dissertation with your entr-
I’ll let the lack of words be considered a bonus treat.
Great. Let’s talk about your ging-
Maybe it’s been all the worldly news we’ve been experiencing that I’ll just say that silence can be golden…
a silent night…
a holy night.
Oh, Cyndy. I’ve missed you. Happy Ginger, sweet friend!
Wanna spend some more time with this Ginger genius? You can find Cyndy here!
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aino’s baba yaga’s little house in the forest sans forest
When I opened Aino’s email, I squealed. This may or may not have been because of the chicken foot. Aino sent the following information with her entry:
This is a plan B entry, since every time I tried to make the magical, mysterious and faintly spooky version of Baba Yaga’s house, the one I remember from books I read with a shiver under the covers when I was a kid, things fell off. Fell apart. And fell short.
Okay, I know what most of you are thinking: who the hell is Baba Yaga? And once again, Ginger becomes gingercational. Baba Yaga is a supernatural witch-like being. She lives in the forest in a hut that stands on chicken legs. She maaaaaay have an appetite for eating people. Oh, and instead of flying around on a broomstick, she sits in a mortar and drives very fast on and just above the forest floor. Yes, you read that right. Her main mode of transportation is a bowl.
Baking chicken foot in the armature? Once the dough got nice and hot in the oven, the thigh ginger fell off first. In swollen blobs which stuck to the carefully formed foot as they baked.
THIGH GINGER. I just threw up in my mouth a little.
Plan B was marzipan. Painted with yellow food colour and dusted with cacao powder. Nothing swelled, fell off or stuck to anything. Call it done!
Since ginger on the upper part of the chicken leg was not to be, I shaped the thigh with paper towel and sewed it to the armature, covering it with icing to which I thought shaved coconut feathers could be encouraged to stick.
Thought I was okay, but now the thought of a thigh covered in shaved coconut feathers has kind of set me off again.
The fluffy coconut feathers were moulting madly while photos were being taken. This disturbed the shredded wheat straw artistically scattered around the chicken foot, as I hastily scrabbled the moulted coconut shavings out of the way.
I’M THROWING UP NOW.
I wanted brown icing to hold the logs on the facade but brown icing, apparently, is not a thing. I could, I suppose, have mixed green and red icings, but getting them back into the squeeze tube once mixed, would have been a pain, so you got green.
I’m not going to say a thing about chocolate buttercream. NOT A THING.
I had planned on carefully simulated thatch for the roof, made from softened and bundled chow mein noodles carefully dried without making the roof soggy, but the critics around his house declared pasta off limits, as this was to be a cookie house.
Thank god for small mercies.
Baba Yaga herself is out. Don’t know how she managed to GET out, since I forgot to leave room for the door, did not end up making the chimney, and the only window in the house is gummed up with gooey green icing. Be glad she is out, perpetually sweeping away the tracks her mortar makes as she rides in it, dragging along the ground. According to my reading, she was not a nice person. Although if you could outwit her, she might be tricked into helping you and letting you leave.
Maybe Baba Yaga has been dealt an unfair hand. Did you ever think of that? Maybe she’s suffering from the ill effects of stress. Wouldn’t you be feeling a little anxious if you knew your house could literally walk away from you? And sure, she eats people. But maybe those people made fun of her long nose and iron teeth. Those can’t be cheap to maintain! Still, I think Baba Yaga would really like your version of her house, Aino. Thigh ginger and all…
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