Episode 5

Gingerbread Houses

November 27, 2016

For centuries, gingerbread has been connected with all kinds of celebrations and holidays. In this episode, we look at the history of gingerbread and the somewhat mysterious origins of the gingerbread house.

Some fun gingerbread facts:

  • Early gingerbread recipes consisted of ginger, breadcrumbs, honey, and spices (including pepper)
  • The first gingerbread man cookies are believed to have come from the court of Queen Elizabeth I
  • Gingerbread has long been a celebration food. You’d find it at fairs and festivals centuries ago
  • For a while, gingerbread baking was an official profession. In the 17th Century, only licensed professionals were allowed to bake gingerbread

In this episode, we hear from Melissa Ferrar from San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel. They build a life-size gingerbread house each year!


The 2015 gingerbread house at the Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco

They even make a dog gingerbread house!

We started off the episode with my mom, who made gingerbread houses from scratch each year. Those store-bought gingerbread house kits are fine, but nothing beats the real thing!


One of my mom’s gingerbread houses from 1980-something

If you’re interested in building your own gingerbread house from scratch, check out this guide from King Arthur Flour.

I also mentioned the Reddit Secret Santa program. 2016 is the 8th year of the program. This will be my second year participating. It’s a lot of fun. If you want to participate, you’ll have to act fast! There’s a deadline to register.

Music in this episode

  • The Holiday Excitement” — Dexter Britain, via Free Music Archive
  • Holiday” — Dave Depper, via Free Music Archive
  • Solar Gain” — Podington Bear, via Free Music Archive
  • Chimera” — Podington Bear, via Free Music Archive