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Gingerbread houses say ‘Christmas’

No confection symbolizes the Christmas holidays quite like gingerbread in its many forms. The gingerbread house intrigues the young as well as the old. For many families, the tradition of making and decorating a gingerbread house is an annual event.

Ginger root begins its journey to the creation of gingerbread in ancient China where it was used as medical treatment. From there it spread to Europe via the Silk Road. The first known recipe for gingerbread came from Greece in 2400 BC. Chinese recipes were developed during the 10th century and by the Middle Ages, Europeans had their own version of gingerbread.

So popular was the making of gingerbread that festivals called Gingerbread Fairs came about. Guilds for gingerbread bakers were formed. During the 17th century only professional gingerbread bakers were permitted to make gingerbread except at Christmas and Easter when anyone was allowed to bake it. Decorated gingerbread cookies and figures became a popular dessert.

The tradition of...

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