Ever since my toddler had got his own storybook about “The Gingerbread Man”, he has been fascinated by the large cookie that can run. Little wonder then that he chose to read this book more than thrice a day at different sittings.
The story centers around an old woman who baked a gingerbread man which leapt from her oven and runs away. The woman and her husband give chase but are unable to catch him. The Gingerbread Man then outruns several farm workers and farm animals while taunting them, only to fall prey to the fox. The tale ends with the latter catching and devouring the gingerbread man.
Although he is too young to understand the hidden concepts, sometimes I do wonder if this tale is an underhand way to get at adults for our possessive streak, trust issues as well as the habitual lying we either weave ourselves or get caught in.
Just as every person or animal runs after the gingerbread claiming it,the question arises if the person has a right to claim it. We often reinforce it to children that just because we want it, doesn’t mean that it is ours or that we can have it. Isn’t true for adults too where our whims and tendencies trigger the possessive streak many a time. Second is the trust issue. Like the spider and the fly, we often fall prey to trickery as we see want we want to see or hear what we want to interpret. Though for the innocent children it is more important to know who to trust an when to call for help; this lesson doesn’t change as we become adults. The world is an ocean, filled with delights and sharks. To experience the former, one has to steer clear of the latter. The third is about the lies. Black or grey or white, lies are lies and fibs are fibs. While sometimes we engage them with good intentions, the dangers of being caught makes one uneasy at any point of time. For a man without credibility and honesty is like an unreliable car or gadget.
Setting aside the story, there is something special about gingerbread, either shaped as a doll, cookies or even the houses. One chunk at a time, they not only add colour to the flavours but also add to fun times in the kitchen with delicious batter to sample.