Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gingerbread City

This year I have my first opportunity to host Christmas in the US. TLOML's mother is coming to town and we will have Christmas lunch in the Rabbit Hutch. I have decided to blend my favourite English Christmas traditions with the best of American holiday festivities.

Yes, there will be stuffed turkey, and sprouts, and bacon and chestnuts. Proper stilton will be served. There will also be pecan pie for pudding, since I think our American brethren are right to have skipped on Christmas pud.

The American tradition I am most excited about adopting is the gingerbread house. Gingerbread houses are cool. All the fun of baking, and decorating, and then you get to eat it? Genius. It's the festive project that just keeps on giving.

Gingerbread houses don't need to be the traditional, Hansel-and-Gretel-style cottage, you know. I toyed with trying to create a mini-Malibu, with marshmallows for rocks, and houses jutting out of a low cliff. I also considered creating a mini-23rd Street, complete with a Flat Iron building, the London Terrace, and the Met Life building. But this is my first house, I know I should be unambitious. 

Making a scale model out of biscuits.... hard can it be?

I could be really lazy and just buy the pieces, ready made. Or even make it out of something else, like crackers, or these strange waffle tiles we saw in Little Russia. That's a lot less hassle than baking, and the house will probably be sturdier.
Food or construction material?

On balance I decided to go the traditional route. Perhaps it's the effect of all those Martha Stewart magazines. I intend to make the gingerbread myself, and from it I will construct a little cottage that is charming in its simplicity.

Forward planning is crucial. Apparently the gingerbread is stronger if it's a few days old - no-one wants to live with a flimsy gingerbread house, do they? And TLOML and I are about to fly to Argentina, returning the day before Christmas Eve. So I need to get my act together, and start the baking now. In fact, making my gingerbread was the one thing I really wanted to accomplish this weekend.

But a wind blew in from the West Coast and dumped 6 of the best eaters and drinkers we know on our doorstep. Friday and Saturday disappeared in a brilliant whirlwind of bars, restaurants and a trip to the Brooklyn Flea. The gingerbread is still fairly conceptual. It exists in my imagination, and in separate containers of sugar, molasses and spices. It's Sunday now, and I'm looking at those containers and thinking that a Saturday night that ends in the consumption of beeritas (it's a margarita and a beer in the same glass. Obvs.) at 3am is not conducive to Sunday morning baking projects. Martha would have known better.

So, will I just post this blog and go back to bed, leaving the gingerbread house dream unfulfilled for another year? Or will I push on through and get baking? Watch this space...

No comments:

Post a Comment