Showing posts with label Hansel and Gretel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hansel and Gretel. Show all posts

Dec 20, 2013

Gingerbread House

The Gingerbread house was first noted in the Grimm’s Fairy Tale, Hansel and Gretel, and followed in a German opera by the same title. After the show was first produced only days before Christmas, it became a holiday tradition in German Opera houses to build miniature replicas of the gingerbread house from the story. The tradition then spread to bakeries and, eventually, to homes.

Sep 7, 2012

Hansel and Gretel

In the widely known version of Hansel and Gretel, we read of two little children who become lost in the forest, eventually finding their way to a gingerbread house which belongs to a wicked witch. The children end up enslaved for a time as the witch prepares them for eating. They figure their way out and throw the witch in a fire and escape.

In an earlier French version of this tale (called The Lost Children), instead of a witch we have a devil. Now the wicked old devil is tricked by the children (in much the same way as Hansel and Gretel) but he works it out and puts together a sawhorse to put one of the children on to bleed (that isn’t an error – he really does). The children pretend not to know how to get on the sawhorse so the devil’s wife demonstrates. While she is lying down the kids slash her throat and escape.

Sliced Bread Fact

Hansel and Gretel remind me of breadcrumbs and here is a crumb about sliced bread. Claude R. Wickard, the head of the War Foods Administration as well as the Secretary of Agriculture, got the idea to ban pre-sliced bread in America, which he did on January 18, 1943.

He said it was about conservation of resources, such as to conserve wax paper and secondary goals of conserving wheat and steel.

However, there was no shortage of wax paper at the time the ban was put in place. He also thought that by banning pre-sliced bread, the amount of bread consumed would go down and reduce the demand for flour and wheat, and thus, decrease prices of those products while increasing stockpiles of wheat. However, at the time of the ban, the US had already stockpiled over 1 billion bushels of wheat, which would be enough to meet the United States’ needs for about two years, even if no new wheat was harvested.

After a severe consumer backlash, the ban was rescinded three months later on March 8, 1943. Upon rescinding the ban, Wickard stated, “Our experience with the order, however, leads us to believe that the savings are not as much as we expected…”