RFF#74 – Gingerbread may have been an early form of “news media”

It’s likely that gingerbread was firstly created during the 11th century when the crusaders brought spices back from Asia. Apparently, some of the early recipes were like a paste, and thus would be pressed into wooden molds. Interestingly, “gingerbread molds” were often carved to portray the news of day in the form of a storyboard including images of the King, Queen or Emperor. Though historical evidence is lacking, I’d like to think that gingerbread could potentially be considered a form of “news media” or rather “gingerbread media” in an era before the printing press.

A Gingerbread mold of Willem III of the Netherlands

A Gingerbread mold of Willem III of the Netherlands (circa 19th century)

Willem III's wife

A Gingerbread mold of Willem III’s wife

I learned about this fact from: http://easteuropeanfood.about.com/od/crossculturaldesserts/a/gingerhistory.htm

Photo credit: http://www.enotes.com/topics/gingerbread

RFF#73 – During the middle ages gingerbread was considered “medical candy”

At the time, gingerbread was commonly eaten in the winter because ginger supposedly “warmed the body” and thus could help restore the balance of the humors (earth, air, water and fire) which physicians at the time believed was the key to health.

There’s a story behind this post…when I first came up with the idea for this blog, my goal was to give my readers facts and anecdotes that will hopefully come to mind when they’re eating, cooking or shopping at the grocery store. Because don’t you just love it when you have a deeper appreciation for something on account of knowing its fascinating history, its biological significance or its connection to various people or places? Today when I was eating a gingerbread cookie,  I realized I don’t know anything about the origins of gingerbread! Thus I was compelled to uncover the deeper meaning behind this Christmas tradition. Upon doing so, I’ve discovered a wealth of random gingerbread facts. So stay tuned, there are many more to come!

I learned about this fact from: http://www.enotes.com/topics/gingerbread and http://thecreationofanneboleyn.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/gingerbread-and-tudor-medicine/

RFF#53 – Fig Newtons were the first mass produced cookie

The machine that creates them was invented by a man named Charles Roser in 1891. He sold the recipe to the F.A. Kennedy Steam Bakery located in Cambridgeport Massachusetts, and they named them “Newtons” after the town Newton, Massachusetts.

I learned about this fact from:  “101 Fast Foods” which aired on Thursday July 24 2013