Gingerbread man
Gingerbread men.jpg
TypeBiscuit
Place of originEngland
Main ingredientsGingerbread

A gingerbread man is a biscuit or cookie made of gingerbread, usually in the shape of a stylized human being, although other shapes, especially seasonal themes (Christmas, Halloween, Easter, etc.) and characters are common.

History

A gingerbread man, with icing decoration
A gingerbread man, with icing decoration
Freshly baked gingerbread men with a variety of decorations
Freshly baked gingerbread men with a variety of decorations
A half consumed gingerbread man, with icing decoration and Smarties as buttons
A half consumed gingerbread man, with icing decoration and Smarties as buttons

Gingerbread dates from the 15th century, and figural biscuit-making was practiced in the 16th century.[1] The first documented instance of figure-shaped gingerbread biscuits was at the court of Elizabeth I of England. She had the gingerbread figures made and presented in the likeness of some of her important guests which brought the human shape of the gingerbread cookies. [2][3]

Characteristics

Gingerbread man and his wife and dog with a gingerbread house
Gingerbread man and his wife and dog with a gingerbread house
Gingerbread salesman (1902)
Gingerbread salesman (1902)

Most gingerbread men share a roughly humanoid shape, with stubby feet and no fingers. Many gingerbread men have a face, though whether the features are indentations within the face itself or other candies stuck on with icing or chocolate varies from recipe to recipe. Other decorations are common; hair, shirt cuffs, and shoes are sometimes applied, but by far the most popular decoration is shirt buttons, which are traditionally represented by gum drops, icing, or raisins.

In world records

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the world's largest gingerbread man was made by the staff of the IKEA Furuset store in Oslo, Norway, on 9 November 2009. The gingerbread man weighed 1435.2 pounds (651 kg).[4][5]

In fiction and popular culture

This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (December 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

References

  1. ^ 300 Years of Kitchen Collectibles, Linda Campbell Franklin, 4th edition [Books Americana: New York] 1998 (p. 183)
  2. ^ "A History of Gingerbread Men". Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses. Archived from the original on 7 August 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  3. ^ Donald F. Lach (2010). "Asia in the Making of Europe, Volume II: A Century of Wonder. Book 3: The Scholarly Disciplines, Volume 2". p. 442. University of Chicago Press
  4. ^ "Largest gingerbread man". Guinness Book of Records website. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  5. ^ Sands, Ali (24 December 2013). "Gingerbread House Takeover". Tailgate Fan. Archived from the original on 19 April 2016. Retrieved 24 December 2014.