It’s National Gingerbread Day. In June? My sentiment exactly. Where is the picture of a hard brown man-shaped cookie that should represent this day. There is a lot more to ginger than just a ginger cookie at Christmas time.

It is said ginger has been used to calm an upset stomach since the late 900’s. No, that’s not a misprint, I do mean 900A.D. It has been used to flavor breads, cakes, pies, and our most memorable Christmas cookie for a very long time. Now it is even used to flavor beer. What will they add it to next? Shampoo, maybe?

When I was in grade school there was usually a box of Nabisco Gingersnaps in the cupboard. I can envision the yellow box now and smell the aroma as if an open box were right in front of me. A cup of warm milk to dip the cookies in after playing out in the snow was a traditional winter treat. I would dip the cookie, suck off the goo, then swirl the ginger flavor in my mouth finally swallowing it slowly so the warm mush could coat my throat to make the flavor last longer.

These days there is always a bottle of ground ginger in my spice cupboard. I use it in my baking and even in a couple of stew recipes. It’s great to sprinkle some on a nice piece of white fish or chicken breast for a different zesty flavor. I also like candied ginger. I chew it a long time so it adds a hot zing of freshness to my mouth.

We are only six months away from Christmas (groan) when the hard brown man-shape cookies make their appearance once again. I suggest you don’t put much frosting on the ones you make, or choose to purchase so you can really taste the ginger. Oh, and don’t forget to get extra milk to go with them.