It is that time of the year when everything becomes Gingerbread flavoured and Gingerbread men and houses fill the supermarket shelves. But what do you really know about Gingerbread? If you have my knowledge it is not a lot so that is why I have been learning some interesting facts about Gingerbread and here is just ten of the most interesting…
FACT 1: The Term Gingerbread Has Many Meanings
You might think you know exactly what “gingerbread” is, but that will depend on where you live in the world. For most western countries that will be hard biscuits like gingerbread men or gingerbread houses. But in many Eastern Countries, it is a soft loaf cake more reminiscent of its “bread” part of the name.
FACT 2: Gingerbread Was Used as a Cure!
When our lovable gingerbread recipe was brought to Europe in 992 it was a cure for indigestion and upset stomachs! But with a sweetening of the original recipe, it was then considered a tasty treat.
FACT 3: Queen Elizabeth I Invented the Gingerbread Man!
Now, this sounds like the talk of a crazy man, but it is indeed true. These little gingerbread men were supposed to resemble visiting dignitaries and she the presented them to those people as a gift, but they were always made with her own hands and then decorated by staff to better represent who they were for.
FACT 4: The World’s Largest Gingerbread House Was 21-foot High!
It was made in Texas, USA and is said to have been 35.8 million calories if you ate the whole house and in size, it was 2520 square feet. Yes, it really was a gingerbread house you could walk into!
FACT 5: Hansel and Gretel was not the First Gingerbread House
There are many posts who say it was the publication of Hansel and Gretel that started the Gingerbread House craze, but that is not true because hundreds of years before that early German settlers brought this tradition to America.
FACT 6: The Recipes For Gingerbread is WAY Older Than You Think!
In fact, the original first recorded recipe was by Ancient Greeks in 2400 BC! While this was a medicinal recipe rather than a snack one it is still the same basic recipe many of us use today.
FACT 7: The Worlds Largest Gingerbread Man was 12ft Tall!
Well, that is not really true because it was never stood up, so really it was only 12ft long and about 6″ tall, but that is not the point. It was 651 KG’s and was made by none other than IKEA in Oslo, Norway in 2009.
FACT 8: It Was Once Illegal for Normal People To Make Gingerbread Outside of Christmas and Easter!
OK, so it was way back in the 17th century but at that time Gingerbread making was considered a profession in itself and outside of Easter and Christmas, the only people who could make Gingerbread were professional gingerbread bakers.
FACT 9: Women Once ate Gingerbread to Attract a Man!
While this is a silly old wives tale it was true nevertheless. Basically unmarried women in England would often eat gingerbread men to improve their chances of meeting a husband. Then, to “seal the deal” they would make the men eat the gingerbread men to make them fall in love with them! Well, they say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!
FACT 10: In Sweeden Gingerbread is Used to Make Wishes Come True
While this is not worldwide there are still some Swedish people who practise this tradition. What you do is place a gingerbread man in your hand and make a wish! I suppose as long as your wish is to have a Gingerbread man to eat your wish should come true!