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Shannon Saar: Making Kids Weep With Jealousy

By Olivia Leigh in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 21, 2006 4:30PM


Although many members of our staff are involved in noteworthy projects outside of our daily blogging duties, we generally don’t report on everything we do, reserving our self-coverage to only the coolest activites. Rachelle Bowden on "Eight Forty-Eight"? Cool. Scott Smith on "Chicago Tonight"? Trés Fab. Shannon Saar’s intricate ode to Louis Sullivan in gingerbread form? Well, that’s worth telling you about.

Shannon, who writes on the weekend shifts and is one of our most ardent architecture enthusiasts, is a well-known Sullivan groupie, and said she wanted to immortalize one of his buildings that burned down this year in gingerbread form. The Pilgrim Baptist Church was selected due to its comparative simplicity, an important element for someone building a gingerbread house for the first time ever.

Having never prepared one before, Ms. Saar went to a good old-fashioned library, where she checked out two books, between which she was able to find gingerbread recipes and construction instructions.

cardboard.jpgAfter first constructing a cardboard model and making test batches of cookies, Saar used Jolly Ranchers to create stained glass windows, layered candy wafers for the roof, and dotted the landscape with gummy candies for shrubbery. The two-tiered confection achieved certifiably “amazing” or “insane” status, depending on the way you think, when Shannon installed a light from Ace Hardware in the cookie church, making the whole thing a glowing homage.

thumb.jpgAfter starting the planning on Dec. 9, she would spend up to five hours a night after work plus weekends to devote to her entirely edible homage, finally finishing yesterday after devoting roughly 30 (!!!) hours to the project.

For her first gingerbread project, our girl done us proud! Saar said she’d like to do another gingerbread extravaganza, saying that maybe the Spire would be next. After we jokingly remarked that the project would surely be easy, she replied, “probably not the way I’d do it … unless they straightened it entirely.”

While we’ll have to wait another year for our intrepid blogger-cum-baker’s next masterpiece, you can check out the progress in photo form on Shannon’s Flickr set.