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MarilynFL

Diary of a Gingerbread House Virgin [photos included]

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11630 posts
Joined: Dec 12, 2005

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Posted to Thread #17091 at 1:20 am on Dec 6, 2009

July
Dear Diary,
Today I was asked to bake a large gingerbread house for a holiday fundraiser in November. I’ve never made one before, but it sounds like fun.

August
Dear Diary,
Someone left a phone message about making a gingerbread house??

September 4th
Seriously? I have to fill out paperwork?? Oh look...they’ve provided a gingerbread recipe that gets rock-hard. How interesting.

September 18th
Just got a call from the fundraiser contact person. Better get moving on this. The deadline is November 1st and it's not as easy as I thought to choose a pattern.

October 2nd
Dear Diary,
Today, in a burst of enthusiasm, I downloaded a 3-foot scale model pattern of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. I will—of course—use the approved gingerbread recipe to make it.

October 3rd
Sanity has checked back into the facility. Instead of a 12th century cathedral, I’ve decided to make a 16” house with a roof covered in white chocolate seashells. Won’t that be pretty!

October 5th
The cardboard model is finally done! Admittedly, it was silly of me to try curving cardboard, but I get to start baking tomorrow. How exciting!

October 6th
Curses! The rolled-out pieces are too big for my cookie sheets. Back to the old drawing board. At least I can keep making the candy seashells. They are so pretty!

October 8th
Dear Diary,
I’m in trouble! This morning, I lifted the 14" baked section of roof and it bent! Then I tested the other baked pieces—and they ALL bent. Then several words that are usually washed out by a mouthful of soap came out of my mouth.

This is all wrong! Bending is not part of the Prime Gingerbread Directive. Bending violates the First Law of Gingerbread House Construction, which is to Stay Upright And Not Bend!

October 9th
I have a contingency plan if this house collapses: fondant “plywood” painted with the words: “A Hurricane Did This!”

October 10th
I thought if I left it alone, the gingerbread might harden—like they promised!! You can't build a gingerbread house with walls that gently flop down. Soft gingerbread was BAD.

I called my contact person looking for advice. Turns out she wasn't making a house....she was making a gift basket. So I called my contact person's contact person. Turns out she couldn't help me because she wasn't making a house either!

I did, however, find out who my fellow competitors would be:

*the head of the culinary division for a local college
*the head of the culinary division of the local community college.
*a bakery owner for 30 years who also teaches cake decorating at Michael's

oh...and a former winner of the Food Network gingerbread competition.

I’m pretty sure none of them are GBH virgins.

October 11th
After hanging up the phone and banging my head on the countertop until my eyes watered, I decided to re-bake the gingerbread. And today it's hard! Of course, the roof and wall edges look like flashpoints from an arson scene, but hey! they don't bend.

October 12th
Called my contact person to confirm that I would definitely be able to deliver a house. That's when she said: "I can't wait to see your theme!"

Huh?

When I replied that I felt lucky just to have a house that existed in three dimensions, her disappointment was actually palpable through the phone line: “You don’t have a theme?"

Dearest Diary, I don't have a theme for my gingerbread house entry. I am a monster.

She suggested that I use a Disney theme or a NASCAR theme or just add lots and lots of candy. Then she described a gingerbread house entry from last year that displayed Fred Flintstone... inside his "stone house"... sitting in front of a stone TV... that actually worked!

"Bending Wall Panic" was immediately replaced with "Lack of Theme Panic" like a vacuum that sucks all the air out of your lungs.

October 12th, much, much later at 2:30 A.M.
Okay. I have a theme. I'm still using the house with a seashell roof, but the yard will be decorated with Calvin & Hobbes' “Snowman House of Horrors!”

I’ll give them a theme.

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October 14th
Major breakthrough today! All 17 house pieces are baked and only one roof piece remains a problem. Still making those seashells. Hope it true that Royal Icing holds like cement. I'm going to need it.

October 15th
Yea! I just gave birth to a 3.4 pound gingerbread roof! I'm off to show...oh crap!!
Well...apparently, Royal Icing does not have the holding capability of cement.

October 17th
Dear Diary,
Although I was wearing an apron over my shirt, I found flour inside my bra! How is that possible? [Note to Self: Scratch off Hitman as a potential career move as “self” would obviously leave incriminating evidence behind.]

October 19th
So I've been wondering....is a gingerbread house technically a gingerbread house if it doesn't have a roof? And really, how important is a roof? Wasn't it Mies van der Rohe who said: "Less is more"?

October 20th
Roof #2 is thinner, but still bends. I’ve added a Styrofoam wedge underneath Royal icing and beveled pretzel rods to support and carry the weight of those darn seashells shingles.

October 21st
Maybe I should just tent the entire thing with a large piece of orange fondant and say the building is being treated for termites?

October 22nd A.M.
Thinner and lighter Gingerbread Roof #2 collapsed last night, possibly because—although it was thinner and lighter—it still had poor self-image issues and felt heavy and thick.

October 22nd P.M.
After I tried spackling the pieces together with wood putty and a blow dryer (why am I not more disturbed by this?), I considered just sucking on a pastry bag filled with Royal Icing until I passed out from insulin shock.

October 23rd
Your Honor, the THIRD new roof will be Foam Core covered with coarse Grade 60 sandpaper to provide traction for the icing because of that G.R.A.V.I.T.Y thingee.

As soon as I finish making these stupid seashells, I’ll cover the darn thing with icing, then slap on the shingles. No support will be visible. Ergo, I conform to the rules. Q.E.D.

October 24th A.M.
Today I used a few non-traditional kitchen tools (a 35,000 rpm Dremel and industrial grade mounting glue) after embracing the whole "structural support is allowed as long as it is not visible" restriction and making it mine.

October 24th P.M.
The house is finally in a x:y:z spatial relationship and sports the “I give up, Gravity. You win” Roof #3. Finished 12 more bloody seashells.

Whose witless, stupid idea was that seashell roof anyway?

October 25th
Dear Diary,
I am finally decorating the house and have found that a sharp X-acto knife cleanly trims the gingerbread. [Note to self: A-Positive blood is amazingly similar to Very Cherry Red food coloring.]

October 26th
Remember that "Three Stooges" episode where Curly goes berserk whenever he sees a mouse and the only way the other two stooges can calm him down is to cram cheese in his mouth?

"Moe! Larry! Cheese!"
"Moe! Larry! Cheese!"

That's how I feel now every time I see the word gingerbread.

October 27th
I. Despise. Seashells.

October 28th
Started making my “theme” items out of fondant. That darn penguin kept toppling over so I inserted a 1/4” machine bolt in the bottom to counterbalance $#@^@ gravitational pull. Also, I'm pretty sure none of the other competitors are saying: “Does this decapitated snowman head look like it’s screaming?"

October 29th
The LED lights are melting the chocolate-covered pretzel trim! Ah-OO-GA! Ah-OO-GA! DIVE! DIVE! DIVE!

October 30th, 11:30 a.m.
BREAKING NEWS!! Wall collapse at the GBH construction site! Rescue crews used a skewer and grappling hook to pull the pretzel rods back into position. Experts claim the wall will stabilize as more Royal icing is pumped in. Their real concern, however, is for the owner, who was found huddled in a corner, whimpering.

October 31st
Great! Just what I need here...hot flashes!! Hopefully the mailman didn't see me icing this thing wearing a bra and apron. Oh, and there's a 70% chance of rain tomorrow. What kind of karmic payback is that??

Poor GBH has lived its entire existence in an air-conditioned, humidity-controlled environment—much like the way Bubble Boy lived—only, you know, this one's covered in Royal icing.

I tried to calm down by taking a peaceful walk on the beach, but started twitching when I saw a shell in the sand.

November 1st: Day of Deliverance
Dear Diary,
Today I finished my first gingerbread house ever. It was fun! It’s also my last gingerbread house. Nurse says they don't allow off-set spatulas here at Happy Valley Farms.

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~DISCLAIMER: No animals were harmed in the making of this gingerbread house. The penguin, however, may need to see a proctologist.

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"Where do you want to be oiled first?"
~Dorothy


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