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The Little Gingerbread House That Couldn’t

So, for the centerpiece of our Christmas Eve feast with the extended family, we decided to make a gingerbread house, because it’s all homey and Christmasy and whatnot. For reference, here’s what the house is supposed to look like, once assembled:

And this is what it looked like when we were finished:

How did it get that way? The following picture provides context:

Let’s just say the construction process was a contentious one.

Note to self: Next year, buy the gingerbread house already constructed.

Are we still going to use the gingerbread house as the centerpiece? Are you kidding? How could we not?

Hope your own Christmas Eve is joyous, and filled with friends, family, gingerbread houses and hammers.

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

43 replies on “The Little Gingerbread House That Couldn’t”

Always buy the one that’s pre-constructed. It never works to do it yourself.

I do love the effect that you got by putting sprinkles and candy all over the demolished house. The hammer was a nice addition along with the classic look on your daughter’s face.

Completely awesome. I’m stuck at work on Xmas eve and this made me LOL. It’s like the gingerbread house after the tornado hit. You could add a gingerbread tree with a fisher price cow in the branches…and the picture with Athena is completely priceless!

I’m pretty sure that’s a Detroit gingerbread house. Very realistic, though a bit more structurally sound than the real deal these days.

Also (presumably) less meth.

Probably worth more than the real deal, too.

Ahhh, 2009. Nice knowin’ ya.

Well, instead she made abstract art! Quite the budding artist you have their.

Display her creation with pride, when she gets to be a famous artiste we can say we knew her when…

That picture strongly reminds me of the one of yourself at the Hugo Awards Ceremony, the one with your beautiful wife looking indulgently upon you.

Methinks Athena takes after you: like father, like child.

I hope the gingerbread was at least delicious?

Here’s some context. When my oldest son was in 5th grade, the week prior to Christmas break was taken up with the “economics project” in which the students build something to sell; it took hours and hours of family time to pull this off; my wife was working midnights; then, two days later we’re told, on the last day we’ll be making gingerbread houses, here’s the recipe you need to use. To say my wife went off on the 5th grade teacher is to understate things. GIngerbread houses are forbidden in our household.

That there is an icing problem, that is. It didn’t set up. Next time, ignore whatever it is they had you do and go to the Internet to look up a recipe for royal icing (here is Lord Alton Brown’s: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/royal-icing-recipe/index.html ).

Assemble the house’s four walls. Let dry. Stick the roof on. Let dry. NOW decorate.

You don’t have to use gingerbread, by the way. My mother always used graham crackers.

I was just talking to my mother today, and she reminded me of the last time that we all tried to make a gingerbread house together. My wife and I had successfully made one the previous year, so we decided to all get together and make one at my parents’ house, too.

We make our own gingerbread — and left in in the oven just a bit too long. Got just a little overcooked.

Then the icing wouldn’t set up.

And we ended up with a pile of burned gingerbread sorta leaning against itself in a heaped mess.

My mother looked at it, decorated it with candies and icing and all the rest, made a little sign that said “FIRE SALE” and put it in the front yard area of the “house”, and used the mess as a centerpiece.

Our almost 11 year old and her aunt each make a house on the day after Thanksgiving. On the day after Christmas, they will demolish them with hammers in the front yard. It’s a tradition.

Happy holidays to your whole clan and you!

Dropping by to say Merry Christmas to you and yours, John. May you have big presents :).

We also have the same gingerbread house kit get-together over here and yeah, too many cooks destroyed the house too. And, my dogs took bites out of it. Poor gingerbread house.

When I was in the Cub Scouts one of our projects was to make Christmas houses out of sugar cubes, with mortar made from confectioner’s sugar dyed pink with food color, and a cardboard roof. You might try that as a project next year.

I love that you took something that a lot of people would have been very upset about and still had a fun time with it. It’s a great head fake for Athena. (For more info, search on Randy Pausch and Head Fake.)

My kid tried making her own gingerbread house this year, by baking gingerbread bricks, then mortaring them together with icing. It turned out… SOMEwhat better than yours. I think. It stood up for a while, at least, mostly.

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