Tag Archives: gingerbread

Saturdays With Gingerbread

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This is the pen and ink start of an illustration of the novel I am working on, Recipes for Gingerbread Children.

I admit that my obsession with the benefits of gingerbread is mostly in my head.  Specifically, in my sinuses.  I find products with ginger in them, diet ginger ale, ginger teas, and especially gingerbread cookies, help reduce the tightness in my COPD-laced lungs, clear my sinuses, and make breathing mercifully easier.  Gingerbread cookies are also seasonally wonderful in that they are slightly Christmassy and help bring my family together.

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So, yesterday, a Saturday, my daughter the Princess and I executed a perfectly evil plan to commit evil acts of gingerbread and whip up some wicked little gingerbread men in a frenzy of deliciously evil bakery.

Okay, maybe not evil exactly…  but I have diabetes and the Princess desperately wants to lose some weight, neither condition being one that benefits by having the temptation of wicked little gingerbread men around.

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And, as with any evil plan, many things proceeded to go awry.  We did not have any actual flour available to make the gingerbread dough less butter-and-egg sticky.  All we had was some corn starch… which had bugs in it.  After struggling to craft sticky little bodies a few times, we decided to go ahead and use the tainted corn starch.  After all, a few little larvae that get overlooked and not picked out will only add a bit of extra protein, right?

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And we had the added bonus that you can make just as much mess with corn starch and margarine as you can with flour and butter!

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But we did get the corn-starchy little buggers baked.  (And they were probably literally buggers due to the potential for having bugs in them.  Oh well, it should fortify the old immune systems.)

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The only decoration we had was chocolate frosting, since someone ate all the sprinkles and sugar dots we bought last year for the gingerbread house.  (Don’t look at me.  I have diabetes.)  So we frosted them, prompting the Princess to begin calling them “little burnt souls blackened in hell”.

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So then the cookie cannibals could allow the eating to begin.

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Mmmm!  Good cookie!

Okay, I know it looks like the Princess did all the work, and all I did was eat them.  But somebody had to do the hard work of taking all the pictures, right?

 

 

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Filed under bugs, fairies, family, humor, illustrations, imagination, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Stories from the Gingerbread House

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So, I have been struck by a lightning bolt of inspiration.  While working on the werewolf story I have been writing since 1998, I decided to make the sweet little old German lady from the Gingerbread House into the main character of her own novel.  I can’t help it.  Grandma Gretel is based on a real person I knew as a child.  She was a concentration camp survivor from WWII who lived by herself in our little Iowa town.  And I loved her.  I can’t help but write a story about her in fictional form.  So, here is the start of my goofy new project;

Recipes for Gingerbread Children                                                                                          (Rezepte für Lebkuchen-Kinder)

A novel by Michael Beyer

Gretel baked gingerbread the way Mozart composed  symphonic masterpieces, or Leonardo DaVinci painted women with mysterious smiles.  People loved her gingerbread cookies and were hooked with one single taste.  And her recipes were a carefully guarded secret, as was the reason that she lived alone in the little town of Norwall, Iowa, on the eastern edge of Wright County.  Gretel was basically a very happy person, a very loving person.  But there were good reasons for her secrets to remain secrets, and though the people of her little Iowa town loved her and took care of her, they must never know the truth.

“Gretel, old girl, you make me work hard for my milk,” complained Lumpkin the Brownie as he deposited the special bag of flour on the kitchen table.

“Ya, you are such a kidder, you are,” Grandma Gretel snapped at the little brown-skinned man who had just climbed through her kitchen window and thrown the small bag of magical ingredients on the table.  Lumpkin was a local fairy and benign spirit who got away with living in town because he was only three inches tall and could turn invisible at will.

“No kidding, Grandma.   Brownies don’t like to do work.  We’re just as lazy as human beans.  We only do this stuff because we are compelled… or bribed.  And your milk and your gingerbread is magical.”

“Ya ya, magical… this I know.  But what you can be telling me is… did you have to do any bad things to get the fairy flour?”

“We are not the Unseely Court, Grandma Gretel.  We don’t deal in evil or pain.  We do it for love.”

“Love of cookies and milk I am thinking.”

The brownie grinned a great, wide, and particularly ugly grin.  “Still counts as love, old woman.”

 

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Filed under humor, work in progress, writing, writing humor

Gingerbread Recipes for the Future

Gingeyhouse1n

I have been suffering through bad day after bad day recently.  I had a fender bender.  My favorite football team got plowed into the turf in the playoffs.  I have been suffering a great deal from weather-induced arthritis pain, low blood sugar, and viral infections.  And I even reached the download limit on my WordPress account, meaning I will have to pay more money to post new pictures.

But this blog is percolating along at 30 views per day or more.  I am being read and exposed to the light more than I ever have in my whole writing life.  That doesn’t earn me a penny, in fact, it costs me money, but it has to be a very good thing.  I deal with pain and hardship through creativity.  I create things to make it better.

When I was a kid, there was a little old German lady that lived in our little town.  She had a tattoo on her forearm.  She had been in a concentration camp in Poland in the 1940’s.  But , living as an Iowan, she was the most cheerful and loving old lady I knew.  She gave me chocolate bars for holding the door open for her at the Methodist church.  She gave homemade cookies to all the kids constantly.  She did not have any children of her own for very sad reasons that no one ever talked about.  She loved it when children visited her at her little tar-paper-covered house that we nicknamed “the Gingerbread House”.  I vividly remember being there one cold winter night after choir practice when she gave us gingerbread cookies and hot chocolate.  She told us on that snowy winter evening, “Gingerbread makes everything better.”

I have to believe that philosophy is essentially correct.  My stories are like gingerbread.  If I cook them just right, they will have that good ginger taste that soothes all hurts and longings.  So, I started putting together a story in honor of her.  She is already a character in several of my stories.  But I needed one where Grandma Gretel was the main character.  And it has to be about baking gingerbread and telling stories.  In fact, I think I will bake a little magic into it.  The gingerbread men she bakes will actually come to life.  And I will put together a theme about overcoming the darkness with a smile and wink and a recipe for gingerbread.

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Filed under 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion, autobiography, battling depression, humor, Paffooney, philosophy, Uncategorized

Gingerbread Town

My recent experiments with holiday gingerbread and happiness have yielded some patently artistical results.  Yes, I know that isn’t a real word.  But I use it anyway because I take bits and pieces and use them to make something new.  You may remember the gingerbread house I made with my kids.  It turned into a disaster you could eat.  But  I got some pictures out of it.  Pictures like this;

I took one and loaded it into an art program and did this to it;

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I also took a picture of some old Christmas chocolate tins;

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I used them together with a stolen background to make this scene;

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Of course, I was not satisfied there.  I had some old cartoon characters lying around.  So, I wanted to use them too.

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And I ended up with an artistical art mess like this;

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If that isn’t artistical, then I don’t know what is.

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Filed under artwork, humor, Paffooney, Uncategorized

Plans in Gingerbread

After yesterday’s Grinchy post about politics, I needed to follow up with something more Christmassy and generous (though technically, as a Jehovah’s Witness not yet disfellowshipped for being an atheist, I am not supposed to celebrate Christmas).  Now that I have alienated all my conservative friends and family, as well as my religious friends, I will create an art project that expresses the good feeling life gives me even as I approach its end.

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I bought a Gingerbread House Kit along with some chocolate frosting and sugar decorations.  I intend to build it and decorate it in my own fashion, being creative and detailed.  I have kids that have already promised to eat it.  But first it will be a subject for photo Paffoonies that I will make with flair and the greatest of care and everything else that I might dare.

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Gingerbread Men

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Gingerbread men may actually have saved my life.  You may not have realized this, but ginger has a significant power over inflammation.  I have had numerous struggles with bronchitis, chest congestion, and in the last few years, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.  I discovered by yielding to the temptation to eat gingerbread men two winters ago, that the ginger in them actually makes it easier to breathe.  They also help with acid reflux, a health scourge that plagued me until I discovered that eating ginger cookies, gingerbread men, and drinking ginger tea could actually make reflux go away.

Now, snowed in on a Friday when I should be teaching kids who are already shutting down for the holidays with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads, I am dreaming of gingerbread men, having used a last-minute-before-the-ice-storm trip to Walmart to lay in a supply of gingerbread men.  They are the most important survival tool for me during the weather event

In my dream, the little brown-bodied cookie-men gathered around me to stare at me with raisin eyes.  They wear only gum-drop buttons, white frosting squiggles, and red cinnamon sprinkles.    Some brandish peppermint-stick spears and candy-cane clubs dangerously, letting me know that I better choose every move with great care.

“Why have you come to the Land of Gingerbread as an eater?” said one.

“I can’t talk to a cookie,” I said.  “I am a human being, and I am supposed to be rational.”

“What are we supposed to do with a human bean when he’s trying to be rational?” a cookie man asked another cookie man.

“Let’s take him to the Ginger King.  He’ll know what to do.”

So, I was surrounded by dangerous little cookie guys and escorted into a magnificent gingerbread castle.  The castle stood on the edge of a cliff next to the Bitter Butter Sea.  We made our way round the candy court until we reached the peppermint throne.

“So, great and hungry eater, why have you come to this part of the Dreamlands with your big hungry mouth and prodigious stomach?”  The king addressing me was an even smaller gingerbread cookie than his subjects.  He did have, though, a very large gingerbread crown, jeweled with red hots and candy corn.

“I ate gingerbread men last night to help me breathe and help me sleep without acid reflux.”

I was prepared to be the victim of their anger and recriminations.  It was justifiable that they would be deeply offended and incensed.

The Ginger King smiled at me.  “You have our blessings and our thanks,” he said.  “It is the purpose and the goal of all gingerbread people to make your life better, and to make you happy.”

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