baking Dorie

Gingerbread 2008: The Inn of Ill Respite

If you’re here for Tuesdays With Dorie, scroll down. And the cheesecake is actually coming!

I’ve been making gingerbread houses (and castles, and pirate ships, and spaceships, and Stonehenge!) since #1 Son was very small; the boys usually came up with the concept and did the decoration, and I did the drafting and baking and building. This year #1 Son wanted to take over the tradition. Being the fantastic mother I am, I let him. (It nearly killed me, though — he was doing everything wrong [meaning, not the way I did it]).

Well, it all worked out just fine in the end. He tried two different recipes for the gingerbread. One was from a book called Gingerbread for All Seasons by Teresa Layman, which I bought only a few years ago but which appears to be out of print already. That’s unfortunate, because it’s amazing. Teresa’s techniques drastically improved my houses over the years. The other was, of course, Dorie’s, which I heard about on an NPR piece right before Christmas. The recipe is at the bottom of that link.

#1 Son said Dorie’s dough was easier to work with (of course!), but he liked the flavor of the other dough better. I think that’s just his aversion to molasses, and we’ll try Dorie’s recipe with dark corn syrup or maple syrup next year.

He made the template (although I did help a bit with that; experience is occasionally helpful, even when you’re 16), baked the pieces, and built the house. He and his girlfriend and #2 Son put on the finishing touches. And so, without further ado, I present the Inn of Ill Respite. (Warning: The text may not be entirely appropriate for children, or for people who were raised to be horrified by things that are, in fact, horrible.)

The merry chimney, snow-dappled roof, and twinkling windows give no indication of the horror that awaits within.
The Inn of Ill Respite, taken over these ten years by vicious goblins. Disguised in human form, they lure travelers in, then murder them and throw the bodies down the hole beneath the firepit, to be sacrificed and eaten by the horde.
Cold, hungry travelers huddle around the fire, eager to eat the great snapper roasting above the coals, unaware that they have more in common with the fish than they know.
Travelers sit down to tables full of meats and fruit pies, never knowing the dark secret ingredients that lurk within.

But evil lurks below. Under that cheerfully blazing fire is the entrance to the goblin city.

The goblins excavated these tunnels for their city, which, while small, is a fine home. Their temple and breeding room take up the top third of the cavern, and the throne room that houses the goblin king and queen, leaders by dint of their size, fills the middle. Below that lies the portal to the inn above, a sunken chamber blocked off for fear of the monster within, and a storeroom, for cured meat, mined gold and jewels hewn from the rock surrounding the caverns.
Here we see a goblin maternity ward. Green shaman goblins stand around the yellow female as she gives birth to her brood of offspring. The albino priest at her head consecrates the ceremony to their dark god.
The goblins’ leonine idol is far older than the tunnels they constructed, and it is said that not even the high priest knows where it came from. Perhaps it is the remains of some great civilization or the petrified body of a horror beyond imagining. Perhaps it is something far worse.

And there you have it. He’s a good kid, really.

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