In Defense of the Gingerbread Man

Brief History: This is a take on a story that exists in a few different cultures. It always involves sentient food which mocks then tries to escape all who eat it. Eventually, this food gets cocky and ends up chopped anyway (usually by an animal which less-than-cleverly tricks it like a fox). Whether it be gingerbread man, pancake, dumpling, or Johnny cake, the history behind this story is vague. Traditionally, it is meant to be tale passed from women to children, a fact most like to imagine in a homey kitchen setting.

Analysis: I confess, I never really liked this story so I’m not so much defending it as I am just explaining it. If you really want to be deep with it, you can think of the woman baking the gingerbread man and accidentally giving him life as being some sort of metaphor for childbirth. But I feel like this just leads to gross jokes. So, let’s just go with, aww look at the annoying cookie.

Blame it on the Victorians: This story is super Victorian - as in the most popular versions weren’t written down until the 1870s. It is oh-so quaint and the morals are a rather loose. “Hey, look! That cookie came to life and is taunting us! Well, we are British! None taunt us! Bite his little Gingerbread head off!”

Last thoughts: The Stinky Cheese Man by Jon Scieszka is a far superior version to the original.

*If you want know any of the places where some of my research comes from, just contact me.