Friday, March 25, 2011

Molding Sweetness

So for Christmas/Chanukah's I received a cookie mold of a Pelican in Piety. I was very excited, now I could make this beautiful cookie mold for friends who are on vigil for a the Pelican award (SCA award), because I love subtleties.

So are wood carved cookie molds period? ABSOLUTELY!

There are simple molding forms that date back to 3000 BC (older than the 1st documentation of massage therapy, which is 2000 BC). The oldest evidence of sweet cakes (cookies) was found in the Indus Valley dating back to 2500 BC.

Molds were made form clay, wood, wax.

The Roman Empire helped spread much of the arts and food sources, the ginger, sugar and other spices all came from the Far East. The most artistic bakers of Old Europe were those of Italy, Germany, Prussia, Bohemia, Czechoslovkia, and France.

The molds could tell stories for those that could not read (most of the populace) So the Royalty made great use out of the mold carvers and the Bakers, who were baking Gingerbread. The depiction during the Middle Ages were often religious.

Gingerbread bakers, first mentioned in 1335, had their own guild by 1415. In 1419, Prague had 18 gingerbread bakers, the wealthiest inheritance papers had over 500 gingerbread molds! the wood carvers established their own guild in the 15th century. The Gingerbread bakers were often families, fathers teaching sons the trades.

SO having learned all these wonderful details about gingerbread and woodmolds, I am happy to have made gingerbread pelican cookies. Now I have yet to determine if the particular mold I have has any historical meaning. I know the Pelican-in-her-Piety is an allegorical depiction of Jesus Christ an image of self sacrifice, from the 13th Century onwards.

But in the reference of using subtleties to tell stories, or to honor someone and the way we use the pelican in her piety today, my cookie mold is very appropriate.

I have only begun to look for a "period" gingerbread recipe. Although I do not believe that my ingredients would be very far off. They most likely did not use refined wheat flour as we do today.
Gingerbread - Pelican in Piety mold

Chocolate Shortbread - Thistle Mold