Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Passing of the Torch

My Dad recently told me that my step-mother (not really a fitting title for someone who really is a mother to me), our family's resident Gingerbread House Master is unofficially retiring from the Gingerbread House business. I can't say I blame her. After years and years of countless hours spent teaching others how to make houses, mixing, kneading, rolling, cutting and baking, hosting assembly parties, coaching and making her own extraordinarily engineered Gingerbread house gifts to be shipped around the country, it was a lot of work. I mean really, it takes some muscle to mix a dough with that much molasses in it! Especially 3 triple batches of it. What was I thinking?!? This endeavor has taken me a total of 7 nights after Ava goes to bed, until well after midnight, and even a 20 minute morsel here and there, while she is awake, under the guise of "Let's play patty cake!".
But that's okay, this year I will quietly, humbly and unofficially carry the torch for a bit. On a smaller and much less grand scale. It is time consuming. My results are clearly not those equal to the Master's, but I will get better.
This year I am making 10 smaller houses and assembling them for family, and friend's children to decorate. After some market research and poll taking, it was determined that the children don't have as much interest in the baking and assembling as they do in having an All-Access pass to the candy for decorating.
Well just this once I will bake the houses for them, next year the older ones will have to don an apron and come in the kitchen with me. Someday, someone will have to take the torch for me. The Little Red Hen story comes to mind... Maybe another year I will really research and plan and make some large scale, extraordinary houses of special magnificence. Maybe when Ava is old enough to help me and really appreciate the endeavor. Until then, these quite imperfect, questionably architected, and structurally compromised versions will have to do. Once you get them all covered with candy and sweets, the amateur engineering doesn't really show so much.
The smell of gingerbread baking is such a nostalgic scent this time of year. I am enjoying the hard work of it! I remember when I was little, absolutely, unconditionally and with purpose, wanting to LIVE in a gingerbread house. I probably still would if I could.
My sister and her boyfriend came over Sunday to decorate their house, my sister is a veteran gingerbread decorator-she whipped her house up in about 10 minutes! I had fun watching my now 29 year old, "little" sister, hand selecting each candy with precision and passion, just as she did when she was my 9 year old sister. Nostalgia, ahhh...
A fine house indeed. Now I am off to assemble the mobile decorating kits for the houses that will be delivered for decorating. Happy Holidays!


Ashley said...

Adorable! I've never made the gingerbread and have only, once or twice, decorated a house. Looks like a lot of fun! Maybe we'll give it a go. Did I see mushrooms beside some of the houses? :) Happy Holidays!

Ashley said...

Perhaps you could post a little "How To" so those new to gingerbread house making can get an idea. It's not like you don't have time, right? ;)

Philigry said...

love the pictures! we can't wait!