Lindsey VanDyke set out to re-create her home in gingerbread as a showpiece for her New Year’s Eve party this year in her new home in Texas. She began with blueprints, moved to a foam-core test build/pattern creation process, and I had the good fortune of being present for the latter half of the process of making and cutting the over fifty pieces of construction gingerbread. The experience inspired this series of articles tracking the progress of the project, and exploring the story of how it came to be.
Let’s meet our visionary Dr. Lindsey VanDyke, an endocrinologist, baking fanatic, and my cousin who recently moved to Mansfield, Texas (near Fort Worth and Dallas). She’s marrying into a family with grown kids.
“I was looking for a Christmas type project to engage the stepchildren, both because I am new to the family and because they hadn’t really defined any kinds of holiday traditions growing up.”
Her history of re-creating her homes in gingerbread didn’t start with this project, however. Prior to moving to Texas, she lived in New Mexico, among other places. There, she created the “Hacienda” aka Fort Kickass and wowed everyone with her dedication to detail.
Lindsey’s pre-diabetic condition challenged her to come up with something relatively inedible to avoid the sugar and carbs. So this year she decided creating the family home in gingerbread would be a sufficient challenge (to keep her hands busy, as she puts it), and would meet the requirements of a fun and engaging family project.
It worked. Already, after seeing what she’s up to, I made the trek to Mansfield to help her bake our family recipe for construction gingerbread. Twelve batches, to be exact. More on the math that goes into a project of this scale in the next article here. In the meantime, have a behind-the-scenes look at how Lindsey’s mega-project looked while I was visiting the day after Thanksgiving.
The gingerbread house dubbed #gingerbreadbutcher (via hashtag) for purposes of those following along the social media app-of-choice should help you find more fun stuff and keep up with the creation of Lindsey’s masterpiece.
My next post in this series reveals the math behind creating the house. From architectural planning, prototyping, conceptualizing structural integrity (the royal icing and gingerbread have to support not only the weight of the rooftops, but the candy that goes on after that), and the volume of each ingredient that goes into the entire house. Just a hint: a half gallon of molasses!
As of the publication of this post, Lindsey reports being in over 24 man hours on the project, and if you add the approximately six hours of my assisting, we’re at a cool 30 as of December 1.