Celebrate the Season with Gingerbread

There are many scents that can trigger a holiday memory but the scent of gingerbread wafting from the kitchen is an unmistakable signal that it’s time to put your building skills to the test.  We decided  to offer students and staff  from the Clark County School District the opportunity to create their own masterpieces in our second Gingerbread House Contest.  Each participating class will be competing for cash prizes to assist their school and tickets to our upcoming Spirit of the King, Elvis Tribute and Holiday Show.  Their works of art will be judged by M Resort culinary experts as well as morning radio personality Melanie of Sunny 106.5 this Friday, November 30. 

As the classes are busy building their houses this week, we started thinking about how the art of creating gingerbread houses really got started.   

Our research found that one of the earliest forms of gingerbread can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians who used it for ceremonial purposes.  The spices to create gingerbread made their way to Europe when the 11th century crusaders brought them back from the Middle East.  The wealthy began to experiment with them to create an early form of ginger paste, which was actually used as a form of “newspaper” to spread the word of current events.  The paste was pressed into molds that had the news of the day etched into them.  The finished “cookie” could be decorated with edible gold paint or flat white icing to bring out the details of the imprint. 

By the 16th century the recipe had been modified to include flour, eggs and sweeteners which more closely resembles the gingerbread cookies we know today.   The first gingerbread man is credited to Queen Elizabeth I, who knocked the socks off visiting dignitaries by presenting them with one baked in their own likeness. Gingerbread tied with ribbon was popular at fairs and, when exchanged, became a token of love.

By the 19th century the gingerbread house became popular in Germany after the Brothers Grimm published their fairy tale collection which included “Hansel and Gretel.” Early German settlers brought this lebkuchenhaeusle – gingerbread house – tradition to the Americas.

The Gingerbread Houses by Clark County School District children will be on display at M Resort beginning the evening of December 1 until Dec. 21.  We hope you’ll stop by and view our modern day artistic creations.

Source:  About.com  Eastern European Food