Baking is Manly

One of the holiday traditions from Matt’s household is gingerbread men. In 2009 Matt’s mom entrusted him with a handful of the heirloom red plastic cookie cutters (older than either of us) that have shaped the family’s gingerbread cookies for decades. Matt set out to make gingerbread men not only in quantity, but in quality. I have to confess that I’m not a gingerbread person, but Matt is an aficionado and he states emphatically that his tweaked recipe was superior to anything his mom or grandmother baked. (Fighting words, to be sure!)

My dislike of molasses aside, I still enjoyed watching the gingerbread clone army being assembled on our counter tops. Matt made copious amounts of royal icing, dyed it with food coloring, and, as the innocent, sweetly scented little men cooled, he went to work with devious purpose.

Any gingerbread man who broke at some point in the process was smeared until dripping with bright red icing at the site of the “injury”. Most were given googly eyes, loud clothing, and out-of-date hairstyles. Some were dressed as women, though whether or not they really were women was debatable. (I much loved the idea of cross-dressing gingerbread men strutting their stuff.) Three of the most memorable ones are shown below: A guy who seems pretty unconcerned about the blood dripping from his fingers and mouth, a little green Martian, and, yes, Ghandi.

— Amanda

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