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Gingerbread House

The Gingerbread House is a stock location in fairy stories. It's where Hansel and Gretel were nearly eaten by the witch. It's the chocolate palace in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It is, simply put, a building made of food, usually sweets but other variations do exist.

Sistertrope of Level Ate. This often, but not always, overlaps with Giant Food and Bizarrchitecture. Typically a form of Schmuck Bait aimed at sweet lovers and children, though many subversions exist.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • There was a Skoda advert where a full-sized replica of the car was made out of cake and sweets. It was shot from real life, but by the end of shooting it was out of date and couldn't be eaten.
    • Subverted by the follow up "Meaner stuff" advert showing a more powerful version of the car being made of a bone chassis, melted down katanas, snake venom, barbed wire, road rubber and windscreen wipers made from crossbow parts, put together with brute strength and hi-tech tools.

    Anime 
  • In one Sailor Moon Non-Serial Movie, the Mooks of the big bad cast an illusion over the senshi that causes them to see the playground they were fighting in as a gingerbread house.
  • During an episode of MÄR, the team (specifically, Princess Snow) fights against an ugly little girl whose signature ARM is the Gingerbread House - a house of sweets. Eating it makes her grow to sumo-like proportions, gaining superhuman strength and toughness in the process. And of course, as she grows bigger, her voice grows deeper and thicker. (Also, she turns into a Gonk.)
  • One such house plays into the backstory of Hansel and Gretel in Otogi Juushi Akazukin.
  • Toriko of Toriko lives in one, which he does eat, as well as the neighboring animals. It must be periodically rebuilt, much to the dismay of the architect.
    • The chef Pippi can materialize a gingerbread house.
  • The barrier of Charlotte in Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a particularly grim example of this trope.

    Board Games 

    Comic Books 
  • Monica's Gang: Jimmy and Maggy find the fabled house and Maggy, being a Big Eater, started eating it. Fearing the witch, Jimmy tried to discourage her. In the end, they left without knowing that the witch isn't so bad as the tale suggested and Hansel and Gretel are actually her grandchildren.
  • El Chavo del ocho: Doña Clotilde told the tale to El Chavo, Quico and La Chillindrina. When she recalled how she liked hearing her mother telling the tale, the kids thought her mother was the witch from the tale.

    Film 

    Folklore 
  • The witch's gingerbread house from "Hansel and Gretel," recorded by The Brothers Grimm in 1812, is the Trope Codifier.
  • Older Than Print: The legendary land of Cockaigne is said to have houses of barley sugar roofed with cakes, according to a 13th-century poem.
  • "Invitation to Lubberland", the original European version of "Big Rock Candy Mountain", involves a lot of this kind of thing, such as streets with pudding pies, powdered beef, and bacon; also, "The lofty buildings of this place / For many years have lasted; / With nutmegs, pepper, cloves, and mace, / The walls are there rough-casted, / In curious hasty-pudding boil'd, / And most ingenious carving; / Likewise they are with pancakes ty'd, / Sure, here's no fear of starving."

    Literature 
  • In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the book (and the second movie adaptation) shows why having a house made of sweets (in this case, chocolate) could be a very bad idea, especially in a hot environment. This happens when Wonka has a chocolate palace built for a prince in India, and it quickly melts after construction.
  • In T.H. White's The Sword in the Stone, Morgan Le Fey's house is a feast of food. Unlike most examples, this is a test. As in many folkloric accounts of Fairyland, if the boys eat anything, they will be trapped. It's also a subversion in that the house is so over-the-top as to be nauseating instead of tempting. Morgan, being a fae, has little experience of food.
  • The almost forgotten nursery rhyme King Boggen:
    King Boggen, he built a fine new hall;
    Pastry and piecrust, that was the wall;
    The windows were made of black pudding and white,
    Roofed with pancakes — you never saw the like.
  • A gingerbread cottage appears in The Light Fantastic, although we're told the Confectionery School of Architecture never really caught on, even amongst witches (outside high-magic areas like the Forest of Skund, the walls go soggy). "Black" Allis Demmurge (in Wyrd Sisters) is also described as living in a gingerbread cottage (although Maskerade claims that once she'd gone really peculiar, she "turned people into gingerbread and lived in a cottage made of frogs"). References are also made in a couple of books to health-conscious witches experimenting with crispbread, but that proved even less popular.
  • Fairly common in Xanth books. Lots of food grows on trees, and Bink's family lives in a cottage made from cottage cheese.
  • The giant peach in James and the Giant Peach qualifies, being a home for the anthropomorphic insects with whom James interacts.
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (both the book and the movie) features a house made of Jello.
  • MAD magazine (its Brazilian counterpart, at least) made a parody where, after eating too much of the gingerbread house, Hansel and Gretel started eating a house made of Alka Seltzer.
  • In A Tale Of, a series that serves as a Twice Told Tale retelling of the Disney Animated Canon, the overarching Big Bad trio of the Odd Sisters lives in one of these.

    Live Action TV 
  • Heston Blumenthal created one of these for his themed dinner-show program. It was just big enough to walk into if you crouched, and absolutely everything was edible. Including the doormat and stained "glass" windows.
  • The fairy-tale inspired Once Upon a Time has a Hansel & Gretel episode complete with the expected Candy-House, though it's unclear whether the structure itself is edible. It's just as likely that the bright colors outside and similarly pastel pastries inside are all part of the trap.

    Music 
  • Boat example, Shirley Temple's trademark song, "On the Good Ship Lollipop"
  • Violent J's song "Candyland" has this.
  • The Traffic song "A House For Everyone" begins with
    My bed is made of candy floss
    The house is made of cheese
    It's lit by lots of glow worms
    If I'm wrong, correct me please
  • The märchenoper (opera based on a fairy tale) Hänsel und Gretel, composed by Engelbert Humperdinck in 1891. Far from being quaint and charming, the opera pulls no punches describing what it would be like to be cooked alive in an oven. The famous house is surrounded by a fence made of gingerbread children - Rosine Leckermaul's previous victims - who sing a chorus entitled "The dead arise, but cannot see."

    Radio 
  • The radio version of Little Britain had a sketch about a group of builders constructing a gingerbread house for a witch, and discussing various building materials, etc.

    Video Game 

     Web Original 

    Webcomics 
  • In Pibgorn, after Geoff's house was destroyed, Dru magics up a new one to replace it.
    Geoff: That aroma... it's gingerbread!
    Dru: I love that new-house smell.

    Western Animation 
  • Kim Possible had a building made out of cheese (and, no, it wasn't just a building ''covered'' in cheese).
  • In Rocko's Modern Life, when Rocko tells Filburt the story of Hansel and Gretel (or at least tries to), he changes the gingerbread house to one made of healthy snacks, but Heffer changes it to a house of pizza. They argue back and forth until Filburt declares that the house be made of fishsticks.
  • In one Chuck Jones Tom and Jerry short, Jerry hides inside a huge wheel of swiss cheese and sculpts out a home inside.
  • On Futurama, the Neptunians working for Robot Santa Claus beg for food despite living in gingerbread houses because "it's either food or shelter, not both."
  • The Simpsons featured, in a warped version of "Hansel and Gretel," a gingerbread house. Homer starts eating it, of course, prompting it to collapse. The witch yells "That was a load bearing candy cane, you clumsy oaf!"
    • And let's not forget his gumdrop house on Lollipop Lane.
    • And the iconic "land of chocolate" sequence, when he imagines edible roads, sign-posts, small dogs, and candy-shops (where they're having a fifty percent off sale.)
    • Also, in the episode "Trash of the Titans", Homer ran for sanitation commissioner and accused his opponent of luring children to a gingerbread house.
  • The Sugarcube Corner bakery in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has the gingerbread house look going for it, though if it's actually edible is anypony's guess. The fandom has widely adopted the idea that it's made out of ordinary construction materials.
  • Garfield and Friends: Garfield told Nermal a version of the tale, but have to soften it for Nermal. Instead of pushing the witch into the oven, Hansel and Gretel reported her to the City Hall for building a house with lower quality materials. The house had to be demolished, which created job opportunities as a demolishing area, one of those taken by Hansel and Gretel's Dad. As Nermal felt sorry for the witch, Garfield added she opened a daycare.
  • Titans Tower became a gingerbread house in the Teen Titans episode "Mother Mae-Eye."
  • In the episode "Flapjack the gentleman" in The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, Lady Nickelbottom's mansion and all of her furniture is made out of candy, naturally, the plot of the episode revolves around the main character's trying to dismantle the house and make off with it.

    Real Life 
  • A Toronto confectionery company built an actual gingerbread house large enough for children to walk through, using giant candy canes for structural members and sheets of candy glass for the windows. It was displayed in one of the city's larger shopping malls, then donated to the local children's hospital.
  • In Bergen, Norway, there's a gingerbread city.
  • Of course, dollhouse-sided versions of these are popular, especially around Christmas. Sometimes they actually get eaten.
  • Gourmet cooking schools and architecture firms sometimes compete to build elaborate gingerbread castles, clocks, entire doll villages, and other structures (usually no bigger than table size). Traditionally these are fundraisers for charities that benefit children. Though they look beautiful, by the time the contest is over the strucutures are generally so stale and dried-out as to be inedible (and some contests permit glues or preserving sprays that aren't meant to be eaten).


Carrying a CakeHave Your Cake and Trope It TooI Was Told There Would Be Cake
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