My niece-like substance, the beautiful and fetching Stefanie, took it upon herself to start a new tradition during this, Our Yuppie Plague. There’s enough family members to fill an Indian casino, but this year, we can’t gather for the holidays.
So, Stef launched a Family Gingerbread House Christmas Contest. Each of us has been invited to build a custom traditional dessert condo from scratch. Now. For those of you who don’t read The Paper (ours), except for parts of Palmdale, much of the country has been under strict quarantine. So it’s not like we’re going to rent U-Hauls and truck the entries to someone’s home for on-spot judging.
“Which drooling mooncalf hanging upside down from the family tree whilst gazing at its navel will be judging this competition?” I asked Stefanie.
“I,” she said, pausing and standing even more at attention long distance, “I — will be said drooling mooncalf.”
“Oh,” I answered quietly. Another long pause. “I’m guessing this will be done by emailing in photos of our creative baking?”
“And in this polluted family gene pool,” I asked, “you’re not concerned with rampant Joe Biden/Democratic Party-esque cheating by submitting something grievously Photoshopped?”
Stef’s a Democrat.
“Mwa-ha-ha,” she said, “ha-ha…” Softly, she sung a few bars of “Georgia On My Mind,” then hung up.
White House. Gingerbread House.
I am not giving up without a fight.
I haven’t had much sleep the past few weeks and just finished my project last night. As you can see from the photo below, I’ve completed a 1/2,500,000-scale gingerbread version of The Hearst Castle.
Using illegally obtained steroids, I pumped them into ordinary Hostess Snowball Cupcakes to create the background mountains, using, of course, green, tan and brown food coloring. Blue sky? Cotton candy. All the trees and shrubbery? Parsley. With apologies to Simon and Garfunkel, I also used a little sage, rosemary and thyme.
Oddly enough, the hardest part of this epic baking project was the swimming pool. It’s filled with blue raspberry Gatorade but the whole landscape weighs 1,100 pounds and you have to be careful transporting it because the Gatorade will splash out of the pool and melt the hardened vanilla cake that represents the miles of white cement walkways and terraces of Gingerbread Hearst Castle.
Much of the intricate detail proved to be a challenge in that I am 6-2, weigh 220 and have hands the size of Thanksgiving turkeys. But, thanks to the alleged Democratic take-over of the White House in upcoming 2021, there have been waves of illegal aliens flocking over our southern border and I was able to obtain the services of several Central American orphans with tiny hands and great (so far) eyesight. Special thanks must be given for their thousands of hours of labor, working only for water and gingerbread leftovers, which, as you know, are inedible moments after popping out of the oven.
I sort of cheated on the roof tiles. I was thinking about using cinnamon Chiclets, which they don’t make anymore. Instead, I simply snuck over to the Lees’ house and stole a few thousand rounded adobe tiles, which worked because the Lees’ house is coincidentally 1/2,500,000 scale, same as my Hearst Castle gingerbread house. Sorry about the leaky roof, Tom.
Special kudos to my Brainiac friend, Skip Newhall. If you look closely, you can see tourists on many of the terraces and landings. Skip was kind enough to lend me the Shrink Ray he invented whilst employed at JPL’s Deep Threat Division and we, well, sort of miniaturized all the illegal aliens working on the gingerbread project so they wouldn’t whine to authorities about back wages and health insurance, because, as you know, ginger, if inhaled or comes into contact with human skin, is quite toxic.
Or, heavens, fatal.
I just KNOW I won.
The prize is plain pathetic, even for a socialist like Stefanie. Everyone in the family is kicking in $5 and the total goes to the winner’s favorite charity.
Charity? Over the holidays? What the hell’s wrong with her?
Mine’s Recalcitrant Albeit Fetching Bow-Legged Rodeo Divorcees With Low Self-Esteem, Santa Clarita Chapter. In case I ever meet any, I’m keeping the house photo and telling them that’s where I live.
You know what they always say around Christmas:
There’s nothing wrong with holiday baking contests, as long as the prize money goes to a worthy cause…
John Boston is a local writer with 119 major awards. All for baking.