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Mon Dec 4, 2017, 12:05 PM

FSogol's Advent Calendar Day 4: A Brief History of Gingerbread

According to sugarcraft scholar Steven Stellingwerf, gingerbread may have been introduced to Western Europe by 11th-century crusaders returning from the eastern Mediterranean. Its precise origin is murky, although it is clear that ginger itself originates in Asia.

Gingerbread was a favorite treat at festivals and fairs in medieval Europe—often shaped and decorated to look like flowers, birds, animals or even armor—and several cities in France and England hosted regular “gingerbread fairs” for centuries. Ladies often gave their favorite knights a piece of gingerbread for good luck in a tournament, or superstitiously ate a “gingerbread husband” to improve their chances of landing the real thing.

By 1598, it was popular enough to merit a mention in a Shakespeare play (“An I had but one penny in the world, thou shouldst have it to buy ginger-bread...”). Some even considered it medicine: 16th-century writer John Baret described gingerbread as “A Kinde of cake or paste made to comfort the stomacke.”

Stellingwerf notes that the meaning of the word “gingerbread” has been reshaped over the centuries. In medieval England, it referred to any kind of preserved ginger (borrowing from the Old French term gingebras, which in turn came from the spice’s Latin name, zingebar.) The term became associated with ginger-flavored cakes sometime in the 15th century.


Whole article at:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/a-brief-history-of-gingerbread-50050265/

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Reply FSogol's Advent Calendar Day 4: A Brief History of Gingerbread (Original post)
FSogol Dec 2017 OP
MFM008 Dec 2017 #1
FSogol Dec 2017 #2

Response to FSogol (Original post)

Mon Dec 4, 2017, 12:47 PM

1. I love it.

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Response to MFM008 (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 4, 2017, 02:08 PM

2. Same here. I make actual loaf-like ginergread and gingerbread men/women for my nieces/nephews to

decorate. This year, I'll try these:

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