Run, run, as fast as you can
you can’t catch me, I’m a food-based representation of one of the Queen’s suitors!

Today is National Cookie Day.

And with the holiday season underway I thought we could talk about perhaps the most versatile cookie of all: gingerbread!

And this sweet treat has an interesting to one of the most famous royals of all time.


Ginger, of course, has been part of our food and our medicine for thousands of years.

There have been recipes that add ginger to little cakes for almost as long.

People in Europe started using the term gingerbread to describe the cakes and cookies we know today in the 15th century,and in some places the cookies were shaped to look like animals, or flowers, or even kings and queens.

The most famous example of this was from Queen Elizabeth I of England, who had her cooks cut the cookies in the shapes of people, and then had them decorated to look like her suitors and other dinner guests, so they could eat likenesses of themselves.

Not awkward at all when the Queen tells you to take a bite out of yourself.

Anyway, gingerbread people took off from there.

The tradition in England was for young women to eat gingerbread husbands in the hopes of someday finding human spouses.

And after being featured in the Grimm tale of Hansel and Gretel, gingerbread cookies were unstoppable.

Not that some people didn’t try: in the city of Delft in the Netherlands, gingerbread shaped like people were banned on religious grounds.

Supposedly a few people used gingerbread like voodoo dolls.

If they didn’t like somebody, they’d bake a cookie in their likeness and then eat it.


And holiday bakers, we have a lesson in patience for you from a musical and culinary great.

Sometimes baking cookies is as simple as following a recipe, but if you’re not satisfied with the results, what do you do?

Musician Neko Case is known for taking the time to make her songs and her records sound just how she wants them. No compromises, no shortcuts.

She told Spin Magazine that after making some not-so-great cookies using the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag, she spent a year tweaking the recipe and baking new batches until it was just right.

I would be happy to fact-check this; send over some cookies, Neko! In the meantime I’ll be over here listening to your music.

The History of Gingerbread (PBS)

5 Facts You Probably Don’t Know About Christmas Cookies (Food and Wine)

Neko Case: Pet Sounds (Spin)

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U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Elisa Labbe