Food. Gingerbread, all the Fun of the Fair. What? no Ginger in Ginger Bread!
Gingerbread Houses and their Inhabitants
Fairground Pleasure. Gingerbread, All the Fun of the Fair!
Recently, while browsing in the book section of a thrift shop in New Zealand, I came across an old cookery book which I bought for the princely sum of one dollar. It was published in 1976 by a group calling itself CARE. This acronym stands for Citizens Association for Racial Equality and was founded to promote racial harmony. CARE was bitterly opposed to Apartheid and discrimination against Maoris, It states in the book that all deserts are the same, only gardens are different. It contains recipes from around the world. The book contains a fascinating collection of recipes donated by the citizens of the countries
One recipe caught my attention becuse it was from Wales where I was born. It was a recipe for Gingerbread. The book went on to state that this recipe was for old fashioned gingerbread sold at country fairs in times gone by and was surprising as Ginger was not one of the ingredients. The book went on to say that ginger wasn't originally an ingredient in gingerbread.
My interest was piqued and I carried out further investigation ito the history of Gingerbread. The sweetmeat was brought to France in 998 by an Armenian Monk and again it it states that it was honey fruit and flour but no ginger. It became very popular in France and later traveled to the British Isles where it was sold in special shops or at Fairgrounds. Honey became superceded by Molasses and it often contained mustard.
The addition of dried ginger as a spice happened quite recently and added a definite zest to the sweetmeat. Today Gingerbread men are very popular with children, especially when they make and decorate the little figures themselves! The gingerbread dough is often fashioned into elaborate Ginger bread house at holiday time with competitions being held for the best and most elaborate. The word "Gingerbread" is used ti describe the ornate wooden decorations added to Victorian houses to good effect. Gingerbread certainly spiced up lives in the past ages and is still with us today.
Ginger is also used to describe hair color and ginger hair was considered "hot" and an indication of a quick temper. A bright chesnut horse was also described as ginger and supposed to be flighty, this was sometimes the case, but it is a glorious hair color. There are so many ways to enjoy ginger, gingerbread being one of them. Enjoy!
Here is the recipe for Welsh Fairground Gingerbread:
Flour 300 gms, Milk 125 ml
Demerara Sugar 150 gms, Candied Peel 50 gms
Butter 100 gms, Black Treacle 150 gms
Pinch of Salt, Cream of Tartar 1 Tsp
Baking Soda Half Tsp.
Sift the flour with the soda, cream of tartar and salt. Rub in butter, add sugar and candied peel and mix with treacle and milk. A teaspoon of ground ginger may be added if preferred.
Bake in a greased tin at 150' C for about 1.5 hours.
This recipe is for a cake style Gingerbread.
Gingerbread has long been associated with Christmas in the form of Gingerbread houses. These are painstakingly crafted from sheets of gingerbread of biscuit type. They are decorated with icing and candy .Gingerbread brings pleasure to all ages.
Gingerbread Men are cut out forms that children love to help to decorate. Many children's books contain Gingerbread Men as the main character
Gingerbread houses are also pretty ornate with decorated mouldings trimming the porches and gables. They were mainly built in the late 1800's or the Victorian era in England. This is astyle of architecture that you either love or loath fr its over decorated look.
Gingerbread has come down the ages to be a pleasant addition to our lifestyle Enjoy!