Most of my interactions with my best friends end up something like this: “What do you want to do?” “I dunno, what do you want to do?” (Yes, that was a Jungle Book reference, for those of you who caught it… we are EXACTLY like those damn vultures. But prettier. I swear.)
I knew I’d picked the right friends when my little suggestion to build a gingerbread house was not ridiculed at all. In fact, they rather liked the idea. It also involved breaking out my newest love… My best friend’s new stand mixer (I covet, I covet!).
My best friend had made a fabulously large, fully decked-out house last year, but her mother had been in charge of the actual assembly, and didn’t really remember what recipe she’d used. We were referred to the Joy of Cooking, where we found directions for cake/cookie houses that pointed us in the direction of a gingerbread recipe. No, not gingerbread cookies. Gingerbread. Light, fluffy gingerbread. I figured this had to be wrong, but I’m Brazilian and we don’t do gingerbread houses, so what was I supposed to know? I had my doubts, but we’re an adventurous bunch, so off we went.
The disasters began with some well-burned sheets. We baked some of the bread on cookie sheets to get it as thin as possible, in hopes that we could build ourselves some sturdy walls. This ended up being our roof (obviously there was a fire in the neighborhood). Before baking, we did absolutely no measurement. Whatsoever. Clearly we knew exactly what we were doing…
Then we went to build our house. Surprisingly, this was the most successful part. Through a series of complicated architectural maneuvers (read: lots of toothpicks and a strategically placed chopstick) we managed to get something that vaguely resembled a house. Then we set about decorating it. And that was the beginning of the end for that poor ramshackle thing. The coconut “snow” looked like shredded cheese to me, and her mother thought we’d used potatoes. The royal icing was splattered about everywhere and we pretty much added as much colored sugar as we could find. The result was a concoction that a four-year-old may have been embarrassed of, and that would probably have given Martha Stewart a coronary.
Eventually, we agreed that it was because of the recession. The recession caused a significant deterioration in the quality of building materials and the expenditure on qualified personnel in building gingerbread houses. When in doubt, blame the government. (And yes, my friends are political junkies. I’m not as much, but…)
Though we did find room in our budget for a picturesque pond with chirping birds, and a cozy fire-pit complete with roasting marshmallows…
Really, the picture of comfort and luxury!
And here we are, our proud 20-year-old selves basking in the glory that was that house. I am not ashamed (well… not enough to keep me from posting this!). It was fun, it entertained us for hours, and had us almost rolling in laughter, just like all our good old times. And really, what more can you ask for?
Just don’t ask us to build your house.