Originally appeared in Medium/"Illumination"
Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Fallingwater” as a Gingerbread House on Steroids
Gingerbread houses never looked this good. Forget using M&M’s, mini marshmallows, and gumdrops for the roof; Skittles for the window frames, and candy canes for the shutters. So meh. Culinary artist Melodie Dearden and her friend Brenton, an architect. knocked it out of the park with their re-creation of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Fallingwater.”
“Brenton did an amazing job of putting plans together for each piece,” says Melodie. The “Gingerbread House Festival” event was in Orem, Utah.
“Each piece had a number. We would cut out the pattern in paper, then cut it in the gingerbread, then bake it. We had to keep everything labeled and sorted because there were so many pieces!’
Melodie and Brent worked from the bottom up. Bake a layer, then add in supports and surrounding mountains, then another layer, and repeat.
The project took twelve hours to design. Forty hours were spent putting together the 164 pieces of house made from roughly twelve square feet of gingerbread dough.
For the stone, concrete, steel, glass, and wood imbued in the actual “Fallingwater,” they used over eight bags of powdered sugar for all of the frosting and over 40 bags of large Smarties (used to simulate dry stack stone on the building exterior). Finally, the river and waterfall are made from three batches of hard candy.
“You make hard candy with sugar and corn syrup,” Melodie continues. “While it’s still hot, you pour this mixture in the area where the water is. Tinfoil makes a nice lining. Then, you make the same hard candy for the waterfall, wait till it’s barely cool enough to handle, then pull it like taffy into the shape you want. Once it cools, it gets really hard.”
The most distinguished comment on their “Fallingwater” rendition came from Melissa Galt, interior designer and great-granddaughter of the maestro himself, Frank Lloyd Wright. She is also daughter of the late Oscar-winning actress Anne Baxter (“All About Eve”) and the goddaughter of eight-time Academy Award-winning Hollywood costume designer Edith Head.
“Melodie, WELL DONE and entirely deserved FIRST PLACE! Great-grandfather would be proud and looking for royalties! LOL. Your rendition was festive and infinitely more attractive than the ‘thrown up candied Santa intestines’ of your competitor. There is just no accounting for taste. Cheers!”Ms. Galt refers to the “Candyland” entry that came in first. But who has the cantilever balconies thing hanging over the waterfall action?
And who would ever think of “Fallingwater” as a gingerbread house? Frank Lloyd Wright would be over-the-moon.