ATLANTA - Fate hasn’t always been kind to the Gingerbread Men of folktales.
“Every one of them, the fox eats them in the end,” laughs Jack Tempchin. “How can you read this to the kids, you know?”
So, last year, the legendary singer-songwriter — along with his wife, Sheryl — started cooking up a second chance for the sweet and spicy little sprite.
“On the tree, we decided to have only things you could eat, which pleased me very much,” jokes Tempchin. “My wife baked a bunch of gingerbread men, and I’m sitting around with a guitar — and I’ll write a song about a cup of coffee if it’s sitting there — and I started writing about the gingerbread man.”
Today, “The Gingerbread Man” is a song, animated video (with art by Savannah Philyaw), and a children’s book, re-framing the story of the runaway cookie and giving him a happy ending. As a special “bonus” treat, the Tempchins are also releasing the recipe behind those now-famous edible ornaments.
“My wife’s great-grandmother had this recipe that was passed down, but it’s for cookies, ginger snaps. And in order to make the gingerbread man, my wife had to change the recipe a little to make sure it didn’t fall apart. But, basically, it’s that recipe.”
Tempchin is a Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee, having penned hits for The Eagles (“Peaceful Easy Feeling”) and Johnny Rivers. When it comes to the recipe for a great holiday song, Tempchin says it all boils down to one major ingredient.
“The whole thing about songs, I think, is a quality that I call ‘likability,’” he says. “You just hear it and you like it.”
To check out the animated video for “The Gingerbread Man,” click here — and make sure to read the video’s description, which includes the recipe!