Thursday, December 19, 2013

Gingerbread for Christmas

By Laurie Epps

There's something about gingerbread that just calls to my five year old this year. Therefore, I cheerfully dedicate this column to my daughter Chloe.

Gingerbread got it's origins in Europe during the eleventh century. In some places it was a spiced cake, but in other regions it was more of the firmer, building material of yummy goodness we think of today. But in it's original form, it was strictly squares or the spiced men.

During Medieval Times, the French perfected it, and used ginger not only for its spiciness, but also it's preservative quality. 

In the nineteenth century, Germans modernized gingerbread and it became the confection we know and love today. Various forms became available and the Germans exchanged it between villages beginning in late fall every year. Gingerbread became popularized by the fairy tale from Brother's Grimm called Hansel and Gretel. The Germans brought their unique recipes and techniques for making gingerbread to colonial America. To learn more about the history of gingerbread, click here.

Baking with Stepmother
By Laurie Epps

Dutifully she begins
her task. A bit of flour, a
dash of salt, nutmeg, ginger,
two types of sugar and molasses.

With a whir, pulse, and constant
kneading, she forms the dough with
aching, tired, and wrinkled
hands. Using girlish cackle

She laments, "This is good for
building as well as sweet bread.
A little spice will tempt their 
moths and build my sturdy house."

Carefully, she rolls the dough
in small amounts to keep it
pliable, if overworked
it will become tough and rigid.

"They're eating us out of
house and home, either way, we 
shall feast and prosper. What's that?
Little mice eating my house?"

Nibbling on the window shutter,
giggling cautiously to each
other with cusped hands hiding
their crime of consumed walls.

Startled by the opened door,
still the children screamed for more.
Rage ignites the witch's heart,
"How dare they take my house apart!"

Inspired by the Grimms Fairy Tale, "Hansel and Gretel."

While this is not a Christmas story, we wish you a Merry Christmas from us on this Thoughtful Thursdays Poetry Column.

Laurie Epps is a senior at Anderson University majoring in Creative Writing. Already Laurie is most published as a feature article writer, essayist, and poet. A seeker of beauty and world traveler, Laurie hopes to grow into a career in travel writing illuminating the many stories that make us human despite our differences. Currently, Laurie also has a Monday Morning Book Club column dedicated to writers everywhere.

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