Spicy hagiography.

(Holidailies Day #5.)

(Look at me using fancy ancient Greek-derived words for titles two days in a row like I know what I’m talking about. Actually, don’t. I sound like a snooty wanker and I most definitely do NOT know what I am talking about.)

I was mistaken about the day of a Christmas thing this weekend (it is on Saturday, not Sunday), so I spent yesterday panicking slightly and getting dough prepped and refrigerated. Two kinds of cookies have already been baked this morning, although one of the recipes (a chocolate-ginger thing from MARTHA STEWART, which I dumbly assumed would be foolproof*) didn’t spread into a cookie shape at all. I hope they are delicious enough to make up for it. (Sampling suggests the flavour is very good, but the cookies are quite dry. Feck.)

I haven’t made regular gingerbread in years, usually opting for a chocolate version. I think I might change it up this year and ask the lovely Jackie to help me decorate (I have no skills, like, at all) when she comes to town for the holidays. What good is a talented house guest if you can’t put them to work, eh? **

It got me thinking about gingerbread being so frickin’ Christmassy. It’s almost the most Christmassy thing I can think of, aside from Jesus’s birthday, which was quite likely in the spring anyway. To bake gingerbread in June would be madness. I thought I had read once that it was the earliest cookie associated with Christmas, but because ginger can’t have been readily available in Europe, my brain could not fathom when it would have been invented. When were Europeans first in the Spice Islands? 15th Century? It can’t have been earlier than that, right? And surely, given their expertise in the realm of spiced cookies, the Germans are responsible?

Well duh. Nope.***

TIL:
Ginger was first brought to Europe from Asia in the first century CE.

The first gingerbread made in Europe in the 10th century by an Armenian monk called Gregory of Nicopolis, presumably from an older recipe, in France.

Gingerbread is one of the first cookies associated specifically with Christmas, possibly because monks started preparing delicious gingerbready cakes for religious festivals in medieval times.**

How I learned this:
Early morning internetting while waiting for headily spiced ginger cookies to come out of the oven. Not exactly the way I meant to do this Fact a Day thing, wanting to hear/learn things more organically, but eh, I’m still in my pyjamas and working on my second cup of coffee. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!

* Assumed makes an ass out of U and Med, which is almost like Meg.

** Because she doesn’t do enough for me, CLEARLY. Like driving me around four provinces. Or leading me on drinking/biking tours. Or just hanging out, doing nothing much, and not complaining. Or just being awesome.

*** Assumptions make an ass out of U and mptions.

***But does Medieval Times serve gingerbread?

One Thought on “Spicy hagiography.

  1. Very interesting, right down to the footnotes. 🙂 So when did the monks first start making gingerbread houses?

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