The Gingerbread Shtetl? Who knew?

If Manishewitz had had these in 1969, I would have gotten one, and been less embarassed in sixth grade…

I was totally floored at making a candy house.  It seemed so goyish.  Jews don’t make candy houses, or they didn’t. But now they do…


Really, a cookie house for Chanukah!

A gingerbread shtetl for Hanukkah?

This is how I recall the incident:
I wanted to make a house that was modern, like Frank Lloyd Wright or the “habitat” development by Moshe Safdie I had seen at Expo 67. I broke the hooks off some candy canes and used the loops and straight pieces to define the borders and beds of an imaginary flower garden in a big yard. For the finishing touch, I completely covered the house in light blue royal icing my mother had whipped up with her hand mixer.
“That’s your candy house?” asked Mrs. Listi, not sounding as overjoyed as I’d expected. “It’s quite unusual. I mean, there’s no candy on it.”
I looked around and saw that everyone else’s was brown with a peaked roof, like gingerbread. They were adorned with rows of candy, like in Hansel and Gretel. Not like a real house.
I had never played the board game Candyland. Gingerbread houses were not in the World Book Encyclopedia, volume A.

My teacher called the guidance couselor in to interview me the next month.

About Onecakebaker

Author of a memoir called The Girl On the Wall, and working on a novel. Former Synagogue president, gardener, empty nester. Raising bees.
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