Medieval Gingerbread Research Paper

1025 Words 4 Pages
During the Christmas season, gingerbread has become a traditional holiday dessert that comes in many forms; however, gingerbread was not created in response to Christmas celebrations. Instead, gingerbread became popular due to its medicinal ingredients and its social connotations. Medieval gingerbread consisted of ginger, honey, and breadcrumbs, which created a high calorie dish that would become the holiday classic society knows today. Ginger originated in Southeast Asia where it was popular for its bitter taste (Habeb 53). Ginger became so important to Chinese cuisine that The Analects mentions, “He [Confucius] did not go without ginger in eating.” In the thirteenth century, ginger became one of the first spices to be introduced to Europe …show more content…
In 1977, a collection of figurines was found in the Sun Temple of Ne-Woser-Re, which supports beekeeping in ancient Egypt. According to Allsop and Brand, “The first figure kneels beside a stack of clay hives and appears to be blowing smoke into them to calm the bees. The five other figures are busy pouring and possibly straining honey from the hives into vessels of varying size, and finally sealing the jars” (Allsop and Brand 514). The Egyptians became so proficient in this practice that they were able to utilize its sweetness in different dishes. One of these dishes included spiced bread, which is probably the progenitor to gingerbread. Years later, honey was imported to England, where the English would begin to perfect the craft. Due to the high price of sugar, honey was the main ingredient used to sweeten dishes in Europe in the Middle Ages. In 1350, honey cost about 7 pence per gallon. Honey was cheaper than sugar, which was thirty times the cost of honey (Allsop &Brand 519). Along with its low price and availability, honey also was believed to have health benefits. In the Tacuina Santitatis, medieval medical handbook, it mentions “It cleanses the chest and the stomach; it purges the abdomen; it keeps the humours of the flesh and the mouth from decaying. It heats the blood and is suited to those with cold, moist temperaments, to the elderly” (Scully 52). As a result, the combination of the honey and ginger in gingerbread would lead to a medicine that would be good for a patient’s digestive

Related Documents