[Sca-cooks] Gilded gingerbread query

Daniel Myers edoard at medievalcookery.com
Thu Jan 4 13:34:45 PST 2007

On Jan 3, 2007, at 9:12 PM, David Friedman wrote:

> A corespondent put this question to me and wanted me to post it to  
> the list:
> ---
> I wanted to ask if you could perhaps shed any light on the origin of
> the phrase "to gild the gingerbread?" and whether, to your knowledge,
> gold leaf is still much used as food decoration?

This is the first time I've heard the expression.

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable mentions gilding in its entry  
on gingerbread:

"Gingerbread.  A cake mixed with treacle and flavoured with ginger  
made up into toy shapes such as gingerbread men, etc., and with  
gilded decorations of Dutch gold or gold leaf, it was commonly sold  
at fairs up to the middle of the 19th century.  Hence tawdry wares,  
showy but worthless."

- Doc

450. Take tendyr brede and Borage, an salt it an skeme it clene, and  
thanne parboyle hem in fayre water, an ley on Pepir an Safroun,  
Maces, Clowys, an a lytil verious an salt, and serue it forth in a  
dysshe, as men seruyth furmenty wyth venyson.  [The Boke of Swyllyng]

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