We live in frightening times, dearie. Terrorism, endangered species, anti-vaxxers, a record number of Ginger competitors using two spaces after periods which creates a lot of extra editing work for me. A second grouping of competitive gingering is just the sort of thing that might help us push through. So gather ’round and allow the wonder of Ginger 2019 fill your heart with
DESI’S GINGER LIBRARY
Every year I like to take on a new gingerbread task, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. My entry is a gingerbread rendition of the public library that my husband works at. It’s not perfect, but it did clearly look like the building it was modeled after. I assure you it tasted much better than the real one, too. Yes, it has sugar glass windows and I did put lights inside it to make it pretty. No, we didn’t eat the lights, we didn’t even try. Huh. Maybe next… No, that’s a bad idea.
Wish I had been there to witness the tasting of the real library, Desi. This ginger gem, on the other hand, looks very lickable. So much royal icing! Very important for tastiness. So many snowy icicles to munch on! The perfect little windows, the jolly piping on the rooflines, the delightful use of colour! Classic gingering fit for a holiday table.
You know who I bet would really like this library? Boomers. I bet they’d just love that you can flip the pages of a “real book” in this sugary sweet building. No computer iBooks here! A Boomer will tell you it’s tough for people to steal your identity when you sit at a library table to pay your bills with cheques that you can send in the mail. And what kind of Boomer wouldn’t love meeting other Boomers in the gardening section for a delightful discussion about those lazy, entitled Millennials who are killing the golf industry?
“By the way,” a Boomer might whisper to you by the local authors shelf, “Ruth’s son is addicted to painkillers but please don’t write it on your Facebooks or tell her that I told you this.”
And don’t bother asking a Boomer if they’d like to join you for sushi after the library-hosted Learn to Use Your Smartphone event. “No, thanks!” Richard will tell you, “I like my food cooked.”
RACHEL’S GINGER CHURCH
My name is Rachel and this is my gingerbread church. I’m 17 and made it from scratch. I took a template from the internet and used my high school math skills to enlarge it.
I’ve been telling kids you don’t need math for about 30 years now. Is it possible that I was wrong? #justkidding #mathisforderks
I used all the best Pinterest techniques I could find. Jolly Rancher stained glass windows, Andes mint roof tiles, pretzel stick siding, and a cross molded from chocolate chips. Inside is a pretzel wood floor and rice crispy treat fireplace (not shown because that would be 3 pics). I used some fondant, life savers, spice drops and Pepe Snowmen for decorations.
My birthday is in December and we have a tradition of making gingerbread houses (from a kit) almost every year since I was 4. This is the first year I made one from scratch and it was fun to be creative and festive.
I know what you’re thinking: how is this possible? What kind of Gen Z kid knows about gingerbread? She’s supposed to be curating her Instagram photos in order to optimize likes-per-photo ratio. Kids of her generation have short attention spans, are addicted to technology, can’t handle face-to-face interaction, and are usually hanging out in gangs fighting for social justice and solutions to the global climate crisis that we’ve all dropped in their laps.
Look at that church! Rachel, this ginger building is a beauty! The windows look good enough to eat, the pretzel details are charming, the candy detailing is begging to be devoured, the confection pond is a delight, and the tiny reindeer are… dead?
Rachel? What happened? What? They’re taking a flat-lay selfie? Of course they are.
ANNETTE’S SPECIAL ORDER FARMHOUSE
I found this design for a Victorian Farmhouse in the book Gingerbread Architect by Susan Matheson and Lauren Chattman. It looked straightforward enough, though I discovered that they don’t give you all the dimensions in the template so I had to add a piece here and sand off a piece there in the end to make it work.
I think we should all get in touch with the authors of that book and DEMAND dimensions. What the hell? Sometimes I think people WANT us to fail.
The roof shingles are Hubba Bubba gum tape which worked great, but I had to go to 8 places to find enough in blue – most stores just stock pink, and who wants a pink roof? The purple Twizzlers around the windows were totally unavailable in my area so I had to order three times what I needed from Amazon just to get them. Yes, when I commit I can get obsessed. But I love doing it!
First off, I’d like to say that this is one of the tastiest looking entries of this year’s competition. Have you ever tried to eat gum paste? It’ll break your teeth. What about fondant covered in layers of painted-on food colouring? Bleck. Ginger competitors often say their entries are ‘entirely edible’ but damn gurl! Who’d want to?
“Oh, let me eat that ramen noodle shrub covered in food colouring,” said no one ever.
This farmhouse, on the other hand, begs for chomping. Hubba Bubba tape? YES, PLEASE! Special order Twizzlers? Don’t mind if I do. A ride on that adorable teeny-tiny sled? Sure! As long as none of the diseased orphans in the neighbourhood have touched it. So much colour, so many tasty treats! Too bad the residents of this house will probably die of smallpox, measles, diphtheria, or dysentery before age 40.
Whatever! Hand me a sour belt!
THE GINGERBUILDER’S IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS
Megan, Erin, and Stephanie (aka the Gingerbuilders) are back! Megan writes:
On a dry winter day, we let the men care for the kids and dogs and came together to build our annual Christmas Gingerbread House. Our house came together as it usually does, half by plan and half by fortune. There was laughter, cheese, tears, and 5 bottles of wine (allegedly).
After one glass of wine I would not be capable of constructing anything other than a house of lies.
This house was inspired by a historical neighborhood in a nearby town. Erin acted as our very own Google Earth photographer and Stephanie drew up the plans.
We tried out some new window dressings. There’s a sweet little Cardinal on the porch roof. You can even see rain boots left out as if someone were waiting on a husband to actually put them away himself.
Whoever lives in the house doesn’t finish the lights because someone wanted to go watch the next episode of The Madelorian. I’m sure he’ll finish the lights right after he puts the boots away.
This ginger creation is an eerily accurate depiction of my life with 2.0. Of course, so is this:
Isn’t Christmas just grand when you’ve spent hour upon hour of your free time making everything perfect just so your spouse can come home and leave their dirty workboots on the Christmas mat? And why put the lights up in one go? You’ll get to it. Leave the ladder propped up against the house so raccoons can use it to gain access to your attic. Company’s coming on December 24, but your beloved will just be getting started with Christmas shopping, so you’ll have to entertain the in-laws on your own for a few hours. Did I mention that your mother-in-law’s diet is now gluten, nut, dairy, AND sugar-free?
Still, things aren’t all bad. Just look at that ginger paradise adorned with fresh cut boughs. The perfect roof! The delightful windows dressed with intricate lace and candles! The logs, the cardinal, the everything! You can always climb up that ladder and nap with the raccoons…
(You can follow the Gingerbuilders on Instagram by clicking here!)
This years Ginger Creation I made my dream bakery! “Kerri’s Bakery” sits on a cozy corner street, backed with trees, and is a quiet place to go for a delightful treat! Inside Kerri’s Bakery you will find fancy display shelves full of pies, cookies, cupcakes, pastries, donuts and elegant cakes. In the next room over there is a brick fire oven where all the desserts are baked. In front of the fireplace sits a work table with a bowl and flour, a rolling pin and a Gingerbread house in the making.
THE. DETAILS. I’ve spent 4.7 million hours looking through those windows at those perfect little confections. The teeny-tiny gingerbread house is my favourite. The piping on this bakery is impeccable!
Peering into the window from outside is a little boy with his dog, checking out the sweets….wondering how tasty that Gingerbread house would be!
Nothing, and I mean nothing, says the holidays like a homeless, presumably diseased orphan standing outside your bakery window in the freezing cold. I bet his breath is melting that gelatine window. That poor child is dragging a sled full of gifts and greenery for some rich people up the street. He’s walking their dog because they simply don’t have time to. He’s been asked to pick up some treats at Kerri’s Bakery but he won’t be allowed to eat any. “We’ve given you exactly enough money for a baker’s dozen,” they tell him. “One for each of our 12 guests and one for the dog!”
The entire Bakery is edible. All made out of Gingerbread, icing, gumpaste, fancy designed chocolate flooring and some candies.
Okay, people, let’s all start using the phrase “fancy designed” for everything we do.
CHERYL & SARAH’S LEWIS & CLARK BOAT HOUSE & MUSEUM (that’s a lot of &s)
Our somewhat accurate replica of the Lewis & Clark Boat House and Museum was built for the 250 year celebration of St. Charles, MO. My friend Sarah and I had talked about entering the local St. Charles contest last December and we made it happen. It is our first ever gingerbread house although we both love to bake and have done so for many years.
Who enters their first ever gingerbread house in a contest? Cheryl and Sarah, that’s who. Look at that thing! The green roof begs to be chomped upon, the adorable wreaths could be swallowed in one bite. The jellybean walkway, the charming greenery, the generous application of tasty royal icing!
It measures 17”x17”x22”. We used Isomalt for the windows but had a huge disaster when the large back window got cloudy, hiding the Christmas tree behind it. Google failed us for a reason so a fix so any insight would be welcomed. We used our favorite childhood candies including sour apple strips for the roof, snow caps and candy cigarettes (we were those kind of kids). Sarah even sculpted the dog statue “Seaman” from gum paste.
We learned that even with the best planning, a Dremel and grater are necessary tools and never throw away unused dough cause you’ll have to rebake something that doesn’t fit. Mostly we just had fun. 3 Saturdays of talking, laughing, sugar and a few drinks. We hope to make this a yearly tradition.
This creation is a Silent Generation’s dream come true. Not familiar? Members of the Silent Generation were born in 1945 or earlier, and honestly? Not that silent. This is the generation that would actually know who Lewis & Clark are! And they’d NEVER waste dough. They would appreciate every detail of this building. Not like the buildings of today. No, THIS building has character! History! Ever hear of that, sonny? It was built with a little thing we like to call work ethic! Work ethic, a stiff drink, and a Dremel. And we wouldn’t walk around taking a hundred pictures of ourselves in front of the museum with our hand computers. Wait, what did you say that dog’s name was? WHY ARE YOU SNICKERING?
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