Nothing can be better on a chilly afternoon than warm Gingerbread cakes. In 1803, the poet William Wordsworth, home sick with a cold, certainly thought so. His sister, Dorothy records:
“Wm. had a fancy for some gingerbread; I put on Molly’s cloak and my spencer and walked towards Mathew Newton’s. . . the blind man and his sister were sitting by the fire. All seemed very clean in their Sunday clothes. They took their little stock of gingerbread out of the cupboard, and I bought 6 pennyworth. They were so grateful.”
In England, gingerbread refers not to a cake, but a type of biscuit made with ginger. It commonly takes the form of a gingerbread man. Gingerbread men are first attributed to Queen Elizabeth I, who allegedly served the figurines to foreign dignitaries. Today, however, they are generally served at Christmastime.