…and when they came nearer they saw that the house was built of bread, and roofed with cakes, and the window was of transparent sugar.
So Hansel reached up and broke off a bit of the roof, just to see how it tasted, and Gretel stood by the window and gnawed at it. Then they heard a thin voice call out from inside, “Nibble, nibble, like a mouse, Who is nibbling at my house?”
And the children answered, “Never mind, It is the wind.”
When I decided to make a gingerbread house from scratch (using this amazing gingerbread mold from Lee Valley), I thought of the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel by the Brothers Grimm. When I was a kid I only knew the cartoon versions, which were all pretty tame from what I remember. But the original tale is incredibly dark right from the beginning. The parents don’t have enough money to support their children, so they devise a plan to leave them in the forest. And then it gets even darker…
The she went back to Gretel and shook her, crying, “Get up, lazy bones; fetch water, and cook something nice for your brother; he is outside in the stable, and must be fattened up. And when he is fat enough I will eat him.”
Reading the fairy tale will make you think of Hansel and Gretel in an entirely different way. I chose not to think about the mean old woman and her creepy house while building my own gingerbread house. Instead, I focused on the bright colours of the candy decorations and the delicious smell that filled my entire house while I was baking.