A Gingerbread House Decorated Cannot Stand

My first attempt at constructing a gingerbread house occurred during elementary school, and I'm happy to report it was successful. (Probably because "construction" simply involved gluing stale graham crackers to a milk carton and tossing a few sprinkles on top.)

And though I recognized that making a gingerbread house can for some people be a form of high art, I still generally believed that your average g-bread domicile was a pretty straight-forward endeavor.

Until last Tuesday.

In a burst of festive spirit, two friends and I met up after work to drink (only hot chocolate, of course) and assemble our own gingerbread houses from some pre-bought kits. Nothing fancy, nothing too complicated. Or so I thought.

I bought my two kits at Kroger, both the same general model found in many supermarkets and drug stores.

At first, construction went swimmingly. As per the directions, I massaged the icing bag, nipped off one corner to make an applicator, and proceeded glue together the walls of the house. The roof was a bit trickier, but after some reinforcement via some additional tube icing, I managed to affix firmly both sides to the bottom frame.

But here, my friends, is where my troubles began. Having foolishly assumed I could move on to the decorating phase, I began adorn the roof with an intricate pattern of holiday M&M's, which, daresay, was reminiscent of thirteenth-century Venetian mosaics. That feature completed, I moved on to the window treatments, but in the process of tilting the house to outline the frames in some lovely baby blue frosting, the side walls caved in.

"Ho, ho, ho," I responded good-naturedly, as my friends looked on in horror. "This can be fixed."

I carefully removed the roof, grabbed some icing, and went about reinforcing the walls. I replaced the roof, added more icing...and then all four walls caved in, leaving the roof mounted on a pile of gingerbread rubble.

"Ho," I said. "must need more icing." I picked up the roof to rework the frame, but one side of cracked in half (destroying the mosaic) while the other side detached and fell into the walls of the house, cracking them as well.

I can say without exaggeration that my gingerbread house was at one point approaching magnificence in terms of structure and style. Five minutes later, it looked like a hovel leveled by a 7.0 earthquake. My friend Corinne (who made the cute gingerbread house featured in the photograph) rightly pointed out that I "tilted the house precariously during a crucial time: the [icing] drying process."

Fair enough. But how long was I supposed to wait? A plain gingerbread house is a sorry sight indeed, but maybe all that shit I tried to put onto it caused its undoing by overwhelming the frame. Readers, your thoughts on the vagaries of gingerbread houses?

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