This was the state of my kitchen for much of the weekend and it was all Tara's fault.
All the cool people congregated at Tara's on Saturday for our Not The Farmer's Wife Sewing Group. There was lots of yummy food , laughter, story telling and show and tell. Among the things being showcased was this magnificent gingerbread house that Tara made. This is a prize winning gingerbread house (for real). Tara wins prizes for her creative genius all the time. I've come to accept that I'm mediocre at absolutely everything, except swearing. If there was an Olympic Gold for having a vocabulary like a sailor, I'd take that out for sure.
I have a piss poor track record with making gingerbread houses. I completely lack the manual dexterity, patience and imagination required to make something fiddly that turns out to be pretty. Plus I'm a Virgo and we like things to turn out exactly like the visions in our head and when it isn't we call it a complete failure and avoid it ever after.
Case in point- in 2006 I decided I was going to make a gingerbread house. This was the vision in my head.
And instead , somehow I ended up with this.
It took me 5 years to recover enough from the experience to want to do it again as if somehow in the intervening 5 years my skills would have magically honed themselves into making me a master gingerbread house maker with absolutely no practice.
This was the result
Im going to confess this effort got pitched out the back door with this parting shot except I did it with an Aussie accent.
I also wrote a blog post vowing never to make another gingerbread house again as long as I lived.
But when I saw Tara's gorgeous house, I just knew I could make one almost as good. And I verbally lamented the fact that I hadn't gone to Ikea to buy a gingerbread kit and that I didn't have time to do it before Christmas.
And Tara, that little sweetheart, presented me with this, there and then, straight out of her own cupboard. Oh Happy Day !
On the way home I stopped in at the shops and bought a few lollies for the decorating process.
When I walked in carrying the gingerbread house kit Mr. P muttered "oh shit" and put his head in his hands. But I smiled and reassured him that I had it under control and this gingerbread house was going to be fabulous. On Saturday night I made a shitload (thats Aussie for a lot) of royal icing and set to work decorating my little heart out. And I left it all overnight to set nice and hard, planning to put it together on Sunday.
When I woke up Sunday morning my gingerbread was soft and pliable and one of the house bits had cracked right across the centre. Then the bottom fell off my chimney. And when I picked up my sides some of the balls fell off. Mr. P helpfully suggested that perhaps the cat had spent half the night licking the gingerbread thereby rendering it soft.
Undeterred I fixed the cracks and stuck the balls back on with more icing and started making a sugar glue to put my gorgeous house together. It takes along time to make sugar glue. Mine burned the bottom of my best saucepan and formed little clumps which looked a lot like crystal meth. On to the back up plan. I tried to stick that thing together with icing. That didn't work either....
But I had a secret weapon to get that house to stick together because by this time I was bloody well determined to have a gingerbread house. I sent Mr. P out to the store on a mission and he came back with this.
Stop laughing. I didn't care by that point that we wouldn't be able to eat it. I just wanted a gingerbread house to show off.
So I started gluing and putting bits together , and gluing more bits and holding them until they bonded , all the while congratulating myself on my brilliance and debating internally about whether I was going to confess it was in fact held together with a toxic substance.
What they don't tell you on the superglue tube is that while you can use it on porous items- that doesn't include gingerbread. And in fact, superglue is evil shit and while it will stick your gingerbread house together - after about 5 minutes it starts to eat your gingerbread away.
So I was sticking the roof on when my lovely gingerbread house did this.
Yep- my gingerbread house imploded. And at that point - so did I.
Lessons Learned :
Gingerbread Houses are evil
I found something Superglue cant stick
I really mean it when I say I am never making another gingerbread house ever again
Now if you'll excuse me, some of those bits of gingerbread are superglued to my cake plate and I have to go and chisel them off....