Food seems to be one of the things I do the most googling about while writing–maybe because so many things about the way we eat seem so “natural” but have actually changed a great deal in the last two hundred years. Or maybe because I’m a cook and food seems to work its way into a lot of my scenes. Who knows? Anyway, I was looking up common shapes for Regency marzipan molds, and I found this, from this site:
Picture cakes were one of the main attractions of fairs and festivals – the cookies represented a lively and subtle form of communication, often using a traditional symbolic code to convey the message. These “cookie messages” were shaped by the baker’s molds – more importantly, the common man was being shaped (influenced) by the MASS MEDIA OF COOKIES.
An example of a mold used for political propaganda (other than the 4000 gingerbread cookies in the image of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III): In 1800, an unknown carver added a Napoleonic hat to a billygoat rider/monkey companion mold symbolic of evil, carved five years earlier. Thus Napoleon was ridiculed – by the gingerbread baker – throughout the Austrian and Germany lands that he had invaded that summer!
How cool is that? I want to know more! I may have to get my hands on the books cited…