Gingerbread is thought to have originated in ancient Egypt some 6000 years ago. A kind of fudge, gingerbread was traditionally made from bread crumbs, milk, honey, ginger and other spices. Bread crumbs or ground almonds were used for thickening the mixture whereas today we use flour for the thickener. Gingerbread was a popular confection during the middle ages and was often served to nobility sculptured and gilded with gold. Ginger in medieval times was suspected of provoking lust but nevertheless was widely used in sauces and cakes. Ginger was also considered useful in the treatment of stomach complaints and as a remedy for the plague.
Take a quart of honey, & seethe it, skim it clean; take saffron, powdered pepper, & throw thereon; take grated bread, make it so stiff that it will be cut; then take powdered cinnamon, & strew thereon enough; then make it square, like as thou would cut it; take when thout cut, and caste box leaves above, stuck thereon, and cloves. And if thou will have it red, colour it with sandalwood enough.
Harelian MS 279 c.1420
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