Many people are familiar with the gingerbread house at Christmas time, however, there are some delicious gingerbread bread, cake, bars, biscuit and cookie recipes that are perfect any time of the year. Each year on June 5, gingerbread lovers across the nation observe National Gingerbread Day, a day that was created to bring attention to gingerbread.
- It is believed that gingerbread was first brought to Europe in 992 by an Armenian monk. He lived there for seven years teaching gingerbread cooking to the French priests and Christians until his death in 999.
- Sources indicate that in 1444, Swedish nuns were baking gingerbread to ease indigestion.
- In the 17th century, gingerbread biscuits were sold in monasteries, pharmacies and town square farmers markets. During the 18th century, gingerbread became widely available.
- At first, European gingerbread where only made by Catholic monks, who usually created them in the form of angels and saints.
- According to the Swedish tradition, you can make a wish, using gingerbread. First, put the gingerbread in your palm and then make a wish. You then have to break the gingerbread with your other hand. If the gingerbread brakes in to three, the wish will come true.
- The gingerbread house became popular in Germany after the Brothers Grimm published their fairy tale collection which included “Hansel and Gretel” in the 19th century.
- A doctor once wrote a prescription for gingerbread for the Swedish King Hans, to cure his depression.
- Queen Elizabeth I of England is credited with the first gingerbread men.
- Unmarried women in England have been known to eat gingerbread “husbands” for luck in meeting the real thing.
- Nuremberg, Germany has the title, “Gingerbread Capital of the World”.
- Ginger is a plant native to India and China which is prized throughout the world for its culinary and medicinal uses.
- Both the Greeks and Egyptians used gingerbread in their ceremonies.
- In the 16th century, Gingerbread was used to create news displays by pressing the rolled dough into carved wooden molds before baking. It often showed the portrait of a new king, a religious symbol or some other important image.
- The tradition of making gingerbread and building gingerbread houses was brought to America by early German settlers.
- Gingerbread was the ultimate (edible) token of luck and love. Before a tournament, ladies would gift their favourite knights a piece of gingerbread for good luck.
- Folk medicine practitioners would create gingerbread men for young women to help them capture the man of their dreams. If she could get him eat it, then it was believed he would fall in madly in love with her.
- In 2013, the Guinness World Records awarded a club in Texas for having the world’s largest gingerbread house. At approximately 18m x 13m x 3m (height), it’s big enough to comfortably house a family of five. For those of you interested, the house is a mere 35,823,400 calories.