Ginger Apocalypse 2016: The Good, the Dead, and the Sugary

Time has passed in the land of the ginger zombies. Though the sugary horror continues, the unrelenting march of the seasons continues. Spring turns to summer, which bleeds into autumn, which in turn changes to winter. The cycle continues, on and on, while the ginger zombies continue their domination of the world.

Sarah, the reluctant hero of our holiday tales, was last seen in Romania, running a zombie carnival with her lumberjack-crush, Jon. Though the zombies were entertained for a time, the shaky peace was soon shattered, and the two found themselves on the run from the ginger zombies once more.

Jon and Sarah wandered to the English countryside, where long abandoned manor houses dotted a wild landscape. The zombie population was low (with most of them having moved on to more populated regions of the cookie world), the homes were stately, and our heroes were weary. They soon set up camp in Frostingshire Manor, and things seemed peaceful.

For a time.

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“First we take over the table, then… THE WORLD.”

Unfortunately, peace doesn’t last in a time of sweet monsters. When their new friend Darryl came back from a supply run, he brought more than food back to our lumberjack-and-jill. And now chaos has overtaken Frostingshire Manor, while our heroes once again fight for their lives.

Jon has taken up his trusty chainsaw once more, dismembering one of the deadly sugar zombies on his front walk:

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A proud homeowner, Jon made sure the walk remained impeccably clean.

At his feet sits a second Molotov cocktail, the first of which he threw at a zombie lurking near one of the large trees on the estate. The zombie has yet to realize she will be burnt sugar in but a few moments:

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Two minutes from now: “THAT ZOMBIE’S ON FIYAAAAAAH!”

But as prepared as Jon may seem, he needs to be careful. A third ginger zombie has crept onto the second story balcony, ready to leap down on an unsuspecting cookie at ANY TIME:

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“Be vewy vewy quiet. I’m hunting COOKIE.”

After a rough start (in which an eye was lost to a hungry zombie mouth), Sarah has come into her own over by Darryl’s truck. The memory of her time as a lumberjill has flowed into her arm, and while she may not be wearing plaid, she IS wielding her axe with deadly precision. Darryl’s truck bed, once loaded with supplies, is now piled high with the remains of the zombies that have crossed Sarah’s path:

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*cue zombie country song*

Unfortunately, the owner of that truck was… not so lucky. Darryl met a tragic end when he tripped, fell into the pond… and was the first to discover that even the local wildlife has succumbed to the sugary zombie virus:

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Zombie ducky, you’re the one. You make bath time so much OH GOD, THE AGONY!

Nearby, another zombie skips rope with Darryl’s intestines, which is rude, even for a zombie:

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Crossfit began marketing to zombies almost immediately.

Watching over all this is the first zombie to attack the manor, a zombie Jon strung up as a warning to the others. A warning they promptly ignored, but it was a valiant attempt:

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“C’mon guys. I just wanted to HANG OUT.”

Will Jon and Sarah repel the zombies once more? Will Sarah get a really cool eyepatch now? Is that duck an ominous portent of things to come? Will the world be overrun by zombie ANIMALS too? Tune in next year to find out!

Ginger Apocalypse 2014: The Refrostening

Another year has come and gone, and the time of the ginger zombies is upon us once more. When last we checked in with Sarah, our lumberjill (jessica? jane?) turned loving housewife, she had been avenging the death of her beloved Jimmy, taken from her less than a year after meeting him. Their marriage had been short but sweet, and Sarah grieved deeply for the death of her man.

But after escaping the forest clearing in the truck of a wandering lumberjack, Sarah found herself remembering her younger days. The days before tiny sugary zombies swarmed across the candy globe. When she had lived up north and worn a lot of plaid and chopped down trees for fun. Despite herself, Sarah once again felt a stirring of emotions for her companion.

Jon the Lumberjack may have liked Sarah well enough, but in true outdoorsman fashion, his first instinct was survival. For some time, Jon and Sarah traveled around the world, trying to carve out a safe haven for themselves. However, it soon became evident that the world was overrun with ginger zombies. Sweet cookie humanity had no hope of beating back the zombie scourge.

So one day, while the two were wandering down a Romanian road, decapitating zombies and talking, Sarah made a radical suggestion. What if, instead of fighting zombies… they learned to live WITH them? Jon mulled this over, but when they stumbled upon the old gypsy wagon, it seemed almost natural to just embrace it. After all, they were pretty nomadic as it was.

And so, Jon and Sarah became gypsies, and they ran a small carnival to entertain the zombies. It turns out Sarah was right- it was much easier to live with the undead than to fight them:

Undead fun fair, now open for business.

Undead fun fair, now open for business.

Jon has grown his beard out and dyed his hair to better fit the role. Little ginger zombies come from all over to visit the traveling fair:

This zombie seems confused- is this ring toss or intestine toss?

This zombie seems confused- is this ring toss or intestine toss?

But it’s not all fun and games out here- one of the little zombies has snuck into one of the booths. Jon better be careful, or his gypsy charade will meet a tragic end:

Imma gonna nom you.

Imma gonna nom you.

Sarah has also embraced the gypsy theme, working from their cart as a fortune teller:

"I see... death in your future. Not really much of a surprise there. The cards always say the same thing, really."

“I see… death in your future. Not really much of a surprise there. The cards always say the same thing, really.”

The last customer got a little… HANDSY. And MOUTHSY. And BITESY with our heroine. And so, she impaled the creature with a spare tent pole:

Ain't no zombie getting the (gum)drop on our girl.

Ain’t no zombie getting the (gum)drop on our girl.

Yes, the show is thriving, and some zombies just can’t wait to take their turn at the games:

"Must... win... skeleton... goldfish"

“Must… win… skeleton… goldfish”

Of course, there are some… unsavory aspects to running a zombie carnival. But Jon and Sarah have learned that the best way to keep the zombies from attacking them is to provide them with piles of fresh offal and meat:

You gotta do what you gotta do.

You gotta do what you gotta do.

But at the end of the night, Jon and Sarah will curl up by their fire, happy, safe (mostly), and together:

So toasty.

So toasty.

What more could you ask for during the holidays?

BONUS: Kitty with frosting on his nose:

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Ginger Apocalypse 2013: Life in the Frost Lane

One year ago, tiny confectionery zombies were unleashed upon the world. We last saw them ravaging a train station, where three intrepid survivors attempted to hold out against the sugary horde.

A year has passed since that fateful night. Whether the other two survivors made it or not remains unknown, but lumberjack (jill? jane? jenny?) Sarah managed to escape the overrun station and flee into the nearby woods. She wandered for a time, living off the land, killing the occasional solo undead, before eventually stumbling upon a clearing… where a man stood, leveling a rifle at her head.

It was love at first sight. Jimmy and Sarah built a cabin in those remote northern woods, hidden from the bulk of the rampaging zombie menace. As the year went on, their love only grew, and they eventually got married.

Well, I mean, they stood in front of a snowman they built and exchanged some rings they scavenged off of the few zombies that had wandered into their home, because seriously, it’s the apocalypse and nobody is around to officiate a wedding these days.

But it was only a matter of time before their peaceful existence was shattered by the plague of sugary shamblers sweeping the world:

The horror. THE HORROR.

The horror. THE HORROR.

Sarah’s woodland paradise has erupted into a riot of blood and killer zombies. Truly, nothing is sacred in this world:

Dammit, Jimmy, I'm a lumberjill/housewife, not a doctor!

Dammit, Jimmy, I’m a lumberjill/housewife, not a doctor!

Poor Jimmy, love of Sarah’s life, has fallen at the hands of the undead masses. Torn apart by a happy little zombie right in front of Sarah, the former Northern badass collapsed into a mushy, girly, sobby wreck for a moment, clinging to the bloody bits of her former lover/husband, before grabbing a knife and promptly beheading the zombie that did her love in.

But there are too many zombies for Sarah to handle, and her neighbor, Carl (who had been out fishing), has been slaughtered and left on the lake’s shore:

Carl was always kind of weird, but he brought the couple meat every few days, so they tolerated his presence in their love glen.

Carl was always kind of weird, but he brought the couple meat every few days, so they tolerated his presence in their love glen.

It seems that this year, the zombies aren’t just out for blood- they’re out to celebrate the holidays as well. Could these ginger bastards get any more twisted? And Sarah’s little clearing just so happens to be the perfect place to hold their undead festivities:

Yes, that's Carl's head. Poor, dead Carl. Now you are nothing more than a tacky holiday ornament.

Yes, that’s Carl’s head. Poor, dead Carl. Now you are nothing more than a tacky holiday ornament.

Thankfully, all hope is not lost for Sarah. A magnificently bearded stranger has just pulled up in his ancient pickup, a chainsaw in hand and a zombie-slaying fire in his eye:

We may not know why he is here (or why he's driving a pickup through the woods), but this stranger may be Sarah's last hope.

We may not know why he is here (or why he’s driving a pick up through the woods), but this stranger may be Sarah’s last hope.

Can Sarah and the handsome, rugged stranger hold out against the tiny monstrosities? Perhaps an aircraft will see the illuminated message Sarah placed on the roof (in the event of just such a tragedy) and rescue our heroes:

That foot's been up there awhile. Nobody can remember who it belonged to.

That foot’s been up there awhile. Nobody can remember who it belonged to. Nice bloodsicle, though.

Or maybe this is the end for Sarah and our bearded stranger. Perhaps this is where they feel the icing-covered hand of death grip their little sugar hearts.

What do you think?

Ginger Apocalypse 2012: Frost Like Nobody’s Watching

It’s finally happened, galleons. Zombies have been unleashed upon the world. Of course, these zombies are of a tiny, sweet variety, and their only real prey are the frosted brains (and candy organs) of other gingerbread people, but for these poor cookies, a veritable sugary HELL has been unleashed.

BEHOLD THE GINGER APOCALYPSE IN ALL ITS GORY GLORY!

SWEET (get it?) JESUS, THEY'RE EVERYWHERE!

SWEET (get it?) JESUS, THEY’RE EVERYWHERE!

That’s right- all hell has broken loose on this tiny train yard, and it’s up to three stalwart defenders to keep the ravening horde at bay.

Let’s meet the survivors!

This is Sarah. She's from hardy, northern stock. She may be a lumberjack (lumberjane? lumberjill?). She really wishes Sam had given her a rifle/shotgun instead of these pussy pistols.

This is Sarah. She’s from hardy, northern stock. She may be a lumberjack (lumberjane? lumberjill?). She really wishes Sam had given her a rifle/shotgun instead of these pussy pistols.

This is Louis. He escaped from a zombie-filled nightmare video game only to find himself in yet another train yard surrounded by even more zombies. He's pretty pissed about all this.

This is Louis. He escaped from a zombie-filled nightmare video game only to find himself in yet another train yard surrounded by even more zombies. He’s pretty pissed about all this.

This is Ron Fucking Swanson.Enough said.

This is Ron Fucking Swanson.
Enough said.

There were five in their little gang, but two have already lost their lives at the hands of the blood-thirsty zombies:

Ron's friend Ned, tragically, fell right before they reached the station. Even a Swanson couldn't save him, so Ron was forced to leave his friend's body behind (as you can see by the bloody footprints).

Ron’s friend Ned tragically fell right before they reached the station. Even a Swanson couldn’t save him, so Ron was forced to leave his friend’s body behind (as you can see by the bloody footprints).

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That was Charles. To be fair, nobody liked Charles. But that doesn’t mean he deserved to die and get his intestines slurped up like spaghetti by some zombie dame, does it?

Unfortunately, our intrepid heroes have made the rookie mistake of splitting up, and are now each facing down their own perils. Alone.

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Ron made it to the station, but he’s been pursued by this specky zombie dude.

But fear not! Not only is Ron a crack shot, but he's found a health pack and some ammo. He should be able to hold out in the station for some time.

But fear not! Not only is Ron a crack shot, but he’s found a health pack and some ammo. He should be able to hold out in the station for some time.

Despite her inferior weaponry, Sarah has already incapacitated one zombie (though it's not dead yet- headshots, Sarah, HEADSHOTS), but she's got another heading her way.

Despite her inferior weaponry, Sarah has already incapacitated one zombie (though it’s not dead yet- headshots, Sarah, HEADSHOTS), but she’s got another heading her way.

Louis is trapped atop the train itself, with two hungry zombies trying to climb up to him.

Louis is trapped atop the train itself, with two hungry zombies trying to climb up to him.

But there's hope for Louis yet. If he can make his way over to the last train car, there are two molotovs sitting up there, waiting to rain fiery badness down upon the undead masses.

But there’s hope for Louis yet. If he can make his way over to the last train car, there are two Molotovs sitting up there, waiting to rain fiery badness down upon the undead masses.

Will the survivors make it out of the train yard alive? Or will they, like so many before them, fall prey to the frosting smeared maws of the tiny ginger zombies?

The Expanding Gingerbread Solution

In order to facilitate maximum enjoyment of spiced holiday homunculi, the experimenter has been tasked with discovering the perfect gingerbread recipe. Finished product must retain 95% of original shape (i.e. no extraneous inflation of confectionary limbs) while still providing maximum dose of festive flavor.

Pre-Experiment Notes

Preparation, Stage 1

Minutes upon minutes of internet research has yielded two potential candidates for base recipe. Recipe A is touted as yielding a form-sustaining product, while Recipe B appears to have the more appealing blend of spices. Upon close examination, both recipes were found to contain similar quantities of all key ingredients with the exception of the spices, leading the experimenter to deduce that Recipe B must also be form-sustaining. Recipe B was selected, then put through a rigorous process in which the experimenter reengineered the dried herb and root amounts [NOTE: For a detailed description of this method, see On Spice Ratios and Rational Modifications].

The final ingredient list (per batch) is as follows:

  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Additional ½ cup flour (to provide non-stick rolling surface)

Necessary apparatuses required:

  • 1 set measuring cups
  • 1 set measuring spoons
  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • 1 spoon
  • 1 rolling pin
  • 1 spatula
  • 1 gingerbread man cookie cutting device
  • 1 pan
  • 2 cooling racks

Laboratory Condition

Laboratory appears clean and well-stocked, though it is missing a number of key ingredients and necessary apparatuses. Missing items are as follows:

  • Ground nutmeg
  • Ground cloves
  • Sufficient flour
  • Molasses
  • Rolling pin
  • Gingerbread man cookie cutting device

Preparation, Stage 2

Acquisition of missing supplies requires a trip to a local shop. Taking into account size of establishment, variety of goods, and proximity to test site, the Meijer on Lake Lansing Rd was selected as the final destination. Upon arrival at the Meijer, the experimenter was unable to locate a gingerbread man cookie cutter. Establishment was exited without purchase of any goods. The experimenter then drove to the nearest Wal-Mart, which also failed to yield a gingerbread man cookie cutter. A small cooking store in the Eastwood Town Center, despite the implication that it would contain necessary items for cooking and baking, displayed a marked lack of cookie cutting devices. The Frandor World Market had one gingerbread man cookie cutter in stock, but it was judged as too small and of too poor quality to be used in the experiment. The Okemos Meijer also did not contain a proper cookie cutter or rolling pin, but did have all edible ingredients. Ingredients purchased at the Okemos Meijer. Marsh Road Target had mediocre cookie cutter, but all rolling pins were well beyond the budget of this experiment. Final stop at the Meridian Mall Bed, Bath, and Beyond finally yielded a large gingerbread man cookie cutter and reasonably priced rolling pin.

Hypothesized time required for supply acquisition: 20 min
Actual time required for supply acquisition: 2 hours, 35 min

Experiment Notes, Day 1

11: 30    Initial ingredients combined without incident.
11:35     Addition of flour yielded sticky dough unsuitable for rolling.
11:38     Additional 1 cup of flour added to the mixture. Dough remains at the same level of adhesive fluidity, contrary to the baking laws that state increased flour saturation is in direct proportion to increased viscosity. Future experiments will have to be conducted to test these remarkable results.
11:40     Additional ½ cup of flour added, to no noticeable effect. Taste test of dough proves that the addition of still higher amounts of flour will result in an exponential drop-off in flavor.
11:41     Experimenter swears colorfully at the dough, to no avail.
11:45     Another cup of flour is added to the dough, finally resulting in a less-sticky substance.
11:47     Flour is sprinkled liberally upon the rolling surface and a small ball of dough is placed upon it.
11:55     The dough adheres to the rolling surface and rolling pin, despite all flour precautions. Rolling surface now resembles a tiny shoggoth. Everything in immediate vicinity has been coated with the spiced monstrosity.
12: 16    Shoggoth-dough has been scraped from all surfaces. Rolling surface has been scrubbed and re-floured.
12: 19    Experimenter has decided to forego all rules of data recording and has started wantonly adding flour to the mixture.
12: 27    Dough is finally at proper rolling consistency. There is no way to tell exactly how much flour is currently in it.
12: 29    A small ball of the dough has been rolled into a sheet on the rolling surface. Gingerbread man cookie cutter is pressed into the dough, creating three ginger subjects.
12: 35    First batch of ginger subjects is in the oven. Dough still exhibiting a tendency to stick to the rolling surface in places. Experimenter has solved this particular issue by introducing a new device to the experiment- the metal pie server. The pie server, when applied in a violent, controlled sawing motion to the underside of the dough men, has proven 85% effective in removing stuck ginger subjects from the rolling surface.
12: 42    First batch of ginger test subjects has finished baking [NOTE: For further information regarding the baking times and temperatures of the ginger subjects, see Appendices A, 5, and Σ]. Subjects have retained their form to within experiment goals.
12: 45    Mastication of Ginger Subject #1 has proven that the liberal addition of flour by the experimenter has, in fact, compromised taste, though not to the degree expected. Still, Ginger Subject #1 does not pass taste standards.

Form held to 95%? Yes
Maximum flavor? No

Conclusion

Experiment yielded no adequate samples.

Upon review of the day’s events, the experimenter has decided to introduce a temperature element to the next set of experiments in an attempt to reduce the unwanted flour pervasion.

Experiment Notes, Day 2

11:15     Initial ingredients once again combine without incident.
11:18     After adding the initial 2 cups of flour, dough is once again sticky and unmanageable. An additional cup of flour is added to the mixture.
11:20     Still-too-adhesive dough is placed in refrigeration unit.
12:35     Dough is removed from refrigeration. While less adhesive than before, it is still unsuitable for rolling. Additional ¼ cup of flour added and dough is placed back in refrigeration unit.
13:42     Dough still slightly sticky. An additional ¼ cup of flour added. Dough is carefully rolled out. Dough remains slightly stickier than ideal. Experimenter carefully cuts gingerbread subjects and uses metal pie server to scrape them off rolling surface.
13:50     First batch of second day’s ginger subjects in the oven.
13:58     First batch of ginger subjects suffered spreading issues. Experimenter took a moment to contemplate how the ginger subjects reflected the expanding waistline of the United States. Horrified, the experimenter ceased this train of thought.
14:04     After several minutes of contemplation of the inflated ginger subjects, experimenter opened refrigeration unit and gave the dough a test poke. After finding it to still have that slight bit of adhesion to it, experimenter removed the dough from the refrigeration unit and placed it in the freezing unit.
14:20     Time in the freezing unit has done nothing. Experimenter still has to knead additional flour into the dough and carefully roll it out. The remainder of the ginger subjects are cut and baked.
14:55     Taste test of second day’s ginger subjects finds no significant difference between the second and first day groups.

Form held to 95%? No
Maximum flavor? No

Conclusion

Experiment yielded no adequate samples.

The simple addition of a temperature element did not substantially change the adhesive dough issue. Experimenter has decided to find a new base recipe for all subsequent experiments.

Mid-Experiment Research Notes

Preparation

After failure of initial recipe, experimenter spent many hundreds of seconds perusing the finest recipe collections (i.e. the internet) for a new angle on the gingerbread conundrum. Careful consideration of peer reviews, as well as judicious application of knowledge gained from previous failed experiments and further spice tampering as per original methods, has led the experimenter to settle on the following:

  • 3 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter (room temperature, softened)
  • 1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • Additional ½ cup flour (to provide non-stick rolling surface)

The recipe appears to acknowledge the flour issue present in the first recipe by requiring a larger initial amount of flour. While the experimenter is concerned that the increase in volume of liquid and semi-solid ingredients will negate the additional flour and lead to the same viscosity issues as before, all peer reviews of the recipe suggest otherwise. The increase in spices also suggest that taste will not be compromised with the additional flour, as proved to be the case in the first recipe.

Experiment Notes, Day 3

16:34     Initial ingredients combine without issue.
16:36     Two of the requisite 3 ¼ cups of flour are worked into the mixture. The dough remains sticky and unmanageable.
16:41     The addition of the remainder of the flour has caused the dough to solidify to a proper consistency. Experimenter weeps quietly with joy, but is careful to avoid adding tears to final dough mixture. Dough is placed in the refrigeration unit.
17:53     Dough is removed from refrigeration. It is left to sit at room temperature while the rolling surface is prepared.
18:01     First batch of dough rolls out without incident. Ginger subjects are cut and placed in oven.
18:09     First batch of the third day’s ginger subjects have finished baking. Shape has been retained to near 98%. Experimenter punches the air, à la Bender in the final scene of The Breakfast Club.
18: 45    All ginger subjects from third day have been cut and baked.
18: 48    Taste test of third day’s ginger subjects show that subjects exhibit both a small exterior crunch and pleasant interior softness, as well as a festive bite of spice.

Form held to 95%? Yes
Maximum flavor? Yes

Conclusion

After three days of rigorous testing, the third day’s batch of ginger subjects passed the tests of both form and flavor.

Make a note here: HUGE SUCCESS