-By Bristol Bugle News correspondent Jim Nickel
For the past 18 years two Bristol residents, Linda Mellinger and her daughter, Lesli Mellinger, have made gingerbread houses for the Christmas season. This year, for the first time, they modeled their edible building after the red mill at Bonneyville Mill County Park near Bristol.
After taking photos of the mill, the two women matched the contours of the historic building in their baked creation. The final result measured about 24 inches wide by 18 inches high, which was bigger than originally planned.
Linda and Lesli used only edible ingredients, including royal icing to glue together the flat sheets of gingerbread, red food coloring for the exterior walls, and black licorice for the roof. They used graham crackers for the ramp, pretzels for fence posts, spaghetti for fence rails, and M & Ms for Christmas lights.
Since it is done in stages, it takes about a week to finish one of their seasonal gingerbread houses. Although they are not made primarily for eating, some parts eventually get consumed by the day care children Linda watches in her home.
The Mellingers started their annual custom by making a log cabin out of pretzel rods. The next year they made a gingerbread house, a practice they have continued for many years. They have designed gingerbread barns, churches, and houses after getting ideas from magazine pictures or from Internet sites. This year’s mill marks the first time they have replicated an actual building in their seasonal efforts.