The holiday season is here again, which means it is time for festive foods and flavors. A classic dessert this time of year, for eating and decorating, is gingerbread! This tin for McCormick ginger from 1942 hints at how long this spiced dessert has been popular, but the history of gingerbread may be deeper than you think!
Ginger has been used as a spice in cakes and breads for thousands of years, first recorded in ancient Greece in 2400BCE. Gingerbread was a luxury in medieval Europe due to its use of imported spices. In fact, the legend is Queen Elizabeth I invented gingerbread men, having them decorated like visiting dignitaries. German bakers in the 1500s went a step further and introduced gingerbread houses.
In the 19th and 20th Centuries, the mass production of baking ingredients made gingerbread easily accessible. Its association with the winter holidays ensures its popularity endures from year to year.
To see wonderful gingerbread creations made by your local friends and neighbors, come to the Gingerbread Festival this weekend! On Saturday Dec. 3 from 10-2, visit the Salem Museum to see Salem’s amazing gingerbread creations. Then head to Longwood Park to visit the rest of the Gingerbread Festival.