Nibble, nibble, like a mouse…

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…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.

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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.

Happy Holidays!

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