Astonishing,…. Beautiful,…. Amusing,…. Entertaining…….

The Westin St Francis Hotel in San Francisco, Sugar Palace, 2017

Edible Architecture: Flights of Fancy in Gingerbread

A new book available just in time for the holidays.

Every Christmas, thousands of pounds of flour, sugar, ginger, and candies are used to create magical houses, palaces, fairy tales, fantasy villages, and futuristic structures — all edible and temptingly aromatic.

Edible Architecture will amaze and delight in its celebration of the world of Gingerbread Houses. Take a tour of some of the astonishing gingerbread creations around the world, and discover a fascinating world of exhibitions, competitions, chefs, and creators. Adorned with frosting and tasty candies on rough German-style gingerbread, these original and colorful creations have a unique and delicious origin.

Edible Architecture is the story of gingerbread houses — their link to the popular fairy tale Hansel and Grelel, the enthusiastic and highly competitive contests sponsored every year, the Guiness record breakers creating the largest houses or gingerbread villages, the traditions that are celebrated around the world, and the chefs that create these fantasy palaces from hundreds of pounds of flour, sugar, ginger, and candy.

Gingerbread houses have surged in popularity during the past few years and it’s not too difficult to understand why. “Gingerbread House-making” combines the skills of baker, architect and visionary. For a family-designed gingerbread house, it takes many hands—both adult and child-size to construct the dream home. During the holiday season of sugar plum fairies and other food-related enchantment, it’s the perfect time to blend spices and flour to create a cookie palace.

Some of the iintriguing stories that you will discover in the book include:

Bergen’s gingerbread village has thousands of houses

A Christmas tradition since 1991, the people of Bergen, Norway build a city of gingerbread.   In this festive collaboration, kindergartens, schools, businesses and hundreds of families contribute gingerbread structures that create a miraculous gingerbread town with thousands of houses, trains, cars, people, and details.  Everyone contributes to the beautiful and delicious creation by baking their own gingerbread items and decorating them.

The Witch’s House in Hansel and Gretel

The tradition of making decorated gingerbread houses probably began in Germany during the early 1800s, and was closely linked to the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel.

But no-one seems to know for certain if making Gingerbread Houses was inspired by the story of Hansel and Gretel, or the reverse — if Gingerbread Houses were already being made and inspired the tale.

A White House tradition

Since the 1950s, it has been a White House tradition to have a special gingerbread houe for the enjoyment of the thousands of visitors during the holiday period.  In the last year of Barack Obama’s presidency in 2016, over 68,000 visitors and guests were entertained at the White House.

North Americans have been baking gingerbread for over 200 years, and even George Washington’s mother is credited with a recipe. The tradition of gingerbread baking was brought to the New World by the German-speaking communities of Pennsylvania and Maryland, and pastries were baked as ginger snap cookies and became popular as Christmas tree decorations.

Futuristic Designs by Architects

The Seattle Sheraton Hotel teams architects with bakers every year to create the original designs. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, this year’s creations celebrate the city of Seattle — in the past and future

Competitions are  the rage today!

Gingerbread house competitions have been popular in the US and Canada for over 20 years, the largest is spnsored by the Grove Park Inn in Ashville, North Carolina.  It attracts over 400 of the best designers from across the country every year.

The Ultimate Gingerbread Village

In 2016, Jon Lovitch’s GingerBread Lane won the title for the largest confectionary village in the world — for the fourth consecutiv year!  Lovitch plans, esigns, bakes, builds and decorates his village during the course of a full year, and this year it is on display at the New York Hall of Science.

French Chateaux in San Francisco

This year’s French Chateau in gingerbread at the Westin St Francis Hotel in San Francisco is 22 feet tall, weighs over 1200 pounds, features more than 20 grand circular towers, approximately 20 rooms, and illuminated windows — and took about 360 hours of hard work to create!!

World Records

Even the Guiness World Records have gotten into the excitement and their Largest Gingerbread House broke the world record in 2013 built by the Texas A&M Traditions Club in Bryan Texas,  The huge structure had an internal volume of 1,110 square meeters, length of 160 feet, and was 42 feet wide.  Covering an area of 2,520 square feet, the 21 foot ingerbread housee had an edible exterior mounted over a wooden frame.

Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco, Gingerbread House 2017

For further information or orders of softbound and hardbound edition  please contact us at: publicationorders@earthlink.net

See chapter descriptions at    http://humanities-exchange.org/edible-architecture-new-book/edible-architecture-chapter-titles/

Order a copy of Edible Architecture: Flights of Fantasy in Gingerbread in pdf format below for $14.95:



Eggs of Many Colors: Bridges Between Cultures

Pysanky are intricately decorated Ukrainian eggs with symbols. The custom dates back over 2,000 years.

For thousands of years, the egg has been a powerful and ancient symbol of rebirth and the Spring Equinox  Today,  most historians believe that the holiday of Easter and the practice of decorating and coloring eggshells has its roots in ancient pagan culture.  

Sumerian, Babylonian, Persian, and pre-dynastic Egyptian cultures all celebrated the return of Spring.  These cultural relationships probably influenced early Christian and Islamic cultures in those regions, as they were spread through trade, religion, and political links from the areas around the Mediterranean.

Ostrich egg painted with red lines. Punic artwork found at the Villaricos necropolis in Cuevas del Almanzora (Province of Almeria, Andalusia, Spain), and dated between 6th and 4th centuries BC (Iron Age II). National Archaeological Museum of Spain (Madrid).

60,000 year old engraved ostrich eggshells have been discovered in South Africa , decorated with engraved hatched patterns. There is evidence that, even in ancient Roman culture, eggs decorated with vegetable dyes using onion skins, beets, and carrots were given as gifts during the spring festivals.

In Persia and present day Iran, the celebration of the New Year, incorporates colored eggs as part of the ceremonial Nowruz table. This 13-day spring festival falls on or around the vernal equinox in March and is believed to have originated in modern day Iran as part of the Zoroastrian religion. 

One theory for the name Easter, is that it probably came from Eastre, the Saxon name of the goddess of spring and fertility, Her festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox; traditions associated with the festival survive in the Easter rabbit, a symbol of fertility, and in colored Easter eggs.

Mexican Cascarones

Civilizations worldwide have created rituals to celebrate a fertile spring, a time of renewal, regeneration and resurrection. Newer legends blended folklore and Christian beliefs and like the holiday of Easter itself, the art and craft of decorating eggs with different colors has also evolved over time.

Faberge Egg

The renowned Russian court artist and jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé made exquisitely decorated precious metal and gemstone eggs for the Romanov Dynasty. These Fabergé eggs resembled standard decorated eggs, but they were made from gold and precious stones.

This new book shows the varied sources for the folk art of coloring and decorating eggs, while demonstrating their  complexity in design and symbolism.

Eastern European cultures have exceptionally strong traditions of decorating eggs.  Created for hundreds of years in the Urkraine and other Slavic countries, the  extraordinarily delicate and beautiful  Pysanky eggs are highlighted — their  history and methods of decorating are discussed in the book.

 

Showing how the cultural traditions have merged and evolved over several thousand years of  history, this is a  book to enjoy with your family.

  • The Egg of Many Cultures:  Transforming a Celebration of the Rites of Spring to Easter
  • ISBN  978-0-943488-15-8
  • Ebook, 60 pages, fully illustrated, 7″ x 7″
  • Price:     $12.95
  • Order through paypal below:



NOTE FROM THE EDITOR:     When you order the ebook with the  button above,  the download  link will then be sent to you in a separate email.   Please make sure that you are giving the correct email address, otherwise, I cannot reach you.   After you have placed your order, it is sent to me for verification so it may take a couple of hours —   I am in North American  East Coast time zone.

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Upcoming tour of Raoul Dufy exhibition to Japan

In 2019, an expanded exhibition of Dufy by Design will be returning to Japan to four Japanese museums.

This new exhibition will not only be about Dufy’s enormous contribution to the world of fabric design, but will include paintings and works of art on the theme of music and the world of theatre design.

In 2010, the British costume designer, Anthony Powell used 25  fabric designs that Dufy had created during his years working with Bianchini-Ferier (1912 – 1928) to create the costumes for the play My Fair Lady that was produced for the Chatelet in Paris and St. Petersburg, Russia..

Five dresses from this production will be included in the exhibition’s tour in Japan

 

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Collaboration with the Bunka Fashion College

During the recent tour of the Dufy by Design exhibition in Japan last year, one of the programs that was developed was a  collaboration with the Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo.  The exhibition was sponsored by Seibu.

For this project, seven fabric deigns created by Raoul Dufy during the period between 1912-1928, when he worked with Bianchini-Ferier in Lyon, were selected and were used by five students to create new fashions that were displayed near the main exhibition.

 

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