Field Report & Review:
Gingerbread Homes for Animals

Chelsea Market, NYC

Diana, RuntEkwesh

We're not sure why, but gingerbread houses seem all the rage among the foodies. Some creations are rudimentary, or from a kit. And others take hundreds of hours and rival any model structure made from less edible materials.

Far be it from charitable organizations to not notice this fad, and create a charming fundraiser taking advantage of the public's love of gingerbread houses.

"Gingerbread Homes for Animals" is an organization which allocated money to a variety of charities, like the ASPCA and Rational Animal. They did this by getting wow-level pastry chefs to create a gingerbread house with an animal theme or representation, and selling them off via silent auction. There were other events like cookie decorating, music, face painting, etc. The whole point was to raise awareness and funds for the organizations which care for abused, sick, and unwanted animals.

Thanks to the Food Network and other foodie exposures, you'll likely recognize not only the businesses which sponsored the gingerbread houses, but also the chefs who created them. Cake Man Raven, for instance, or Martin Howard. (They created the owl, and carriage horse cakes, respectively.)

The event was held in a large public space on the ground floor of Chelsea Market, and was draped in an awful lot of cotton-wool batting and branches. It was a relatively inexpensive decorating effort, but rather effective. Only complaint was that they used it on the floor as well, so over time, it got grimy and matted ... but oddly, it did feel like real snow in that way!

Having seen some of those shows where gingerbread houses go into competition, none of these would place. But they are all cute / clever and wonderful in their own way. They'd grace a Christmas display or buffet beautifully, and being that these are a pastry showcase, you know the pieces should be nicely edible!

There were many gingerbread houses up for offer, and we did take photographs of them all ... but we didn't take photos of the labels or take notes as we should have ... so there are several houses which are so similar in their titles (or were ambiguous enough) that we couldn't match them up. The rest, however, were more clearly identifiable. And sorry for typos — we got the names of chefs and their businesses from the website ... Enjoy!

And remember that even if you're not a pet owner or animal lover, animals are the way they are because of what humans did to them. Be nice, and support a shelter or wildlife effort. And if you can bid on a gingerbread house while you're at it, what could be bad??

Gail Dosik, One Tough Cookie
"An American in Paris: Mitzi is welcomed to the court in Versailles"

Bill Corbett, Dona
"In the Dog House"

Victoria Love, The Water Club
"Spot and Bailey's Christmas Cottage"

Judiaann Woo, Kate Brown, Raina Bien, Danielle Wong, Melanie Miller,
"Pigs in a Blanket"

Cake Man Raven
"Smokey the Owl and His Cozy Redwood Home"

Lee Salben and Terry Lucas, Peanut Butter and Co.
"Urban Jungle"

Carna Ahlin, Aquavit
"The Penguin Igloo"

Martin Howard, Brasserie 8-1/2
"The Ginger-Fringed Carriage Horse Corral"

Jennifer Chiang, Pieces of Cake
"Turtle Town"

Lauri Ditunno, Dianne rossomando, Jurgen David, FCI
"The Stray Cats of the Recently Extinct CBGB"

Matt Hutchins, Tompkins Square Bakery
"Arctic Pleasureland"

Wendy Israel, Jumeira Essex House
"A Roll in the Hay"

Suzanne VanBrunt, The Chocolate Moose
"The Moose Lodge"

Michelle Doll-Olson, Patisserie Colson
"Falling Acorns"

Dina and Jena-Francois Bonnet, Tumbador Chocolate — "Brooklyn Frog Shelter"
Dan Cipriani, Brendan McDermoot, Elizabeth Johnson, Sweets of New York, Lodge — "Wolf's Lodge"
Howard Dubrovsky, Food Cult — "Coyote Spirit"
Katie Robinson, Sweet Melissa Patisserie — "Coyote in Central Park"

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