Holiday season is here and we’re currently flooded with all sorts of decorations and colorful traditions. But while most Lao wouldn’t touch a fruitcake or lutefisk with a ten-foot pole, there’s nothing stopping us from trying our hands at Gingerbread Houses. Or, what I propose would be far more interesting and challenging: the Gingerbread Wat. Especially considering ginger’s roots in Asia.
If people can make a Gingerbread Endor or a Gingerbread battle scene from the Lord of the Rings, we can certainly make one that touches on the Lao experience.
We can get a lot of traction even out of the ready-made kits you can spot at a discount at the craft and grocery stores. Some very interesting designs can be made just with the materials they throw into that one, although it’s a little questionable how tasty they’d be at the end of it all.
Still, let’s set our aims a little higher. Here are some examples of the high end gingerbread houses of recent years:
Logan Temple,above, for example, or this Newfoundland house:
You really have to plan ahead to get the lighting to work like this, of course. Over the years people have challenged themselves with designs like this extremely elaborate mansion. If someone can do this, we can put together a Wat Lao:
Here’s another fun house made from gingerbread and candy. Many of the architectural design elements are similar to those we’d find on the buildings at many of the Wat Lao in Laos and across the US:
I would also take a look at this interesting house design:
Compare it to Wat Inpaeng in Vientiane, which is all but crying out for the Gingerbread House treatment. I’ll be the first to admit many of the bas-reliefs of the real temple may be a little too difficult to replicate:
To be honest, Gingerbread That Luang probably also isn’t happening any time soon, but how interesting it would be if someone could pull it off:
But this building from the Wat Lao in Modesto would provide a fine challenge, with some fine opportunities to practice one’s skill at elaborate ornamentation:
Or, bringing this back to the midwest, the Wat Lao in Farmington is also colorful enough in its architectural design that we could see some interesting interpretations:
There would be many advantages to Lao Americans taking up gingerbread architecture. One would gain an understanding of the culinary arts and a number of applied traditional arts technique and skills. It would definitely teach patience and encourage many other virtues while building an interest in Lao heritage and imagination. You can find all sorts of advice on the internet about how to properly build a tasty gingerbread building (and I’ll let you build your gingerbread research skills from here!)
But we aren’t restricted to Wat Lao. What other Lao buildings and monuments might you be interested in seeing given the gingerbread treatment?