Last Call: Show us your gingerbread houses

Gingerbread house models at this year’s Gingerbread House 2020 competition in Stockholm, Sweden
Gingerbread house models at this year’s Gingerbread House 2020 competition in Stockholm, Sweden
Photo: Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP (Getty Images)
Last CallLast CallLast Call is The Takeout’s online watering hole where you can chat, share recipes, and use the comment section as an open thread. Here’s what we’ve been reading/watching/listening around the office today.

Today’s story about the meticulous gingerbread Home Alone house has us wondering: Is yours a gingerbread-house-constructing household? If I’ve made five in my life, I’d be surprised. Once or twice in my youth—perhaps only in years when holiday break fell early and there were an excess of pre-Christmas days to fill with activities—we would pick up the big kit from the grocery store, which came with “gingerbread” that you weren’t technically allowed to eat, chalky icing that looked and felt much more like joint compound, and gumdrops that weren’t the least bit tempting, whether edible or not. We would construct them in the cold basement on big dropcloths to avoid making a mess of the rooms that would house our extended family on Christmas Eve. But the final product was always a delight worth slogging away for, and the few days during which the gingerbread house would sit out on the buffet before mice became a concern would fill me with pride.

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That is, until the moment when I saw anyone else’s gingerbread houses, which were infinitely more clever in their use of candy canes, cinnamon drops, and even food coloring, forming red-and-green checkerboard roof shingling that left my own creation feeling overwhelmingly... brown. These days, however, I’ve been tempted to pick up the piping bag once more. It’s a particularly cooped-up holiday season, and we’re all feeling craftier than ever, no matter our skill level. And to hell with the store-bought kit—when you use plain old graham crackers, you get to take things in any architectural direction you like, rather than being confined to the traditional Colonial proportions of the prepackaged stuff. Perhaps I’ll build a stately gingerbread Usonian home this year?

Inspire us with stories (and photos!) of your best edible holiday houses. I have everything to learn from your gingerbread genius.

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.

DISCUSSION

jjdebenedictis
jjdebenedictis

There was a certain category of Christmasness that used to drive me nuts as a wee kiddie, and it can roughly be described as “Stuff that looks like a wonderful opportunity and but you can’t touch it.”

For example, empty boxes wrapped up like presents. To my wee-kiddie brain, presents are for opening, not for decoration.

And the other example would be gingerbread houses. There they are, slathered in crunchy icing and candy, and you can’t have even a nibble for weeks and weeks on end.

So I never made them, and I’m pretty much only interested in appreciating their beauty if you’re 100% going to take a hammer to it and then share it in the next fifteen minutes.