Yes, it’s a word. Gingerbreading. And it’s one of the best words out there, too.
But what does it mean, you ask?
Gingerbreading means hours of sweet labor, mixing the flour, butter, sugars, and spices, then dividing that luscious dough, wrapping it, and chilling it to perfection. It means rolling and hammering the cold dough flat with your marble pin, hoping you didn’t chill it too long and it cracks, so you have to start over.
It means cutting the pieces using your special house-shaped cookie cutter gifted to you years ago, as well as all those other cutters—tiny animals, trees, angels, stars—that you bought at other times for just this purpose. It means baking all afternoon and filling your home with amazing ginger-spicy smells that last for days.
And Gingerbreading means icing! Lots and lots of smooth, glossy icing made with sweet meringue powder, a hint of lemon juice, and gobs of sugar. And it means candy. Not the random bits of hard candies from store-bought kits. I’m talking red vines, chocolate chips, red hots, jellybeans, and candy canes. And sprinkles. So many kinds and shapes of sprinkles. And that’s just for starters.
But the best meaning of all for Gingerbreading is the friends you invite to join you when preparations are complete. It’s the camaraderie and fun that’s shared as you each craft a little house with those home-baked pieces and as you enjoy hot chocolate or tea or juice with all those stolen bits of candies.
Gingerbreading is crafting and creating, laughing and lauding. And when the holidays are over, it takes on one last, long-awaited meaning: smashing those beautiful little houses and feasting for a month (or more!) on all the melt-in-your-mouth pieces!
Gingerbreading, in all its forms, and with all its meanings, is one of my family’s favorite traditions. Care to try it this year? Here’s the recipe I love!
Looking for more holiday cheer? Check out these seasonal pieces from MockingOwl Roost contributors and staff.
- Gingerbread House for a Mouse – Poetry
- Holiday Traditions
- Christmas Waltz – Poetry
- My Favorite Things: A Christmas Carol
Tandy Malinak was engrossed in visual art, stage performance, and storytelling before she knew what the words meant. A second-generation homeschooler with a BA in Elementary Ed, she also knows kids and homelife; set her down with a cup of tea, and she’ll go until you stop her. She loves fantasy, sci-fi, Nintendo, board games, studying the Word, the smell of a campfire, the sound of ocean waves, and all things feline—to name a few! Originally from Seattle, Tandy now lives in Chicago’s northside with her husband, 2 dragon-loving kids, and 4 cats.
Tandy recently perched herself on Twitter’s branch. She’s still figuring it out, but will make noise there eventually.