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Pretty enough to eat

It’s a work of art, really.
Taking 90 hours to create and made up entirely of edible materials, the gingerbread house is too beautiful to eat.
“I wouldn’t dare touch it,” said Carolyn Dysart, the “adopted mom” of the creator. “He has worked so hard on it, so diligently.”
Patrick Duschel, who lives in Louisiana, but is visiting family in Lincolnton this Christmas, stayed up until 5 a.m. Monday finishing the sugar-coated house.
The bulk of it is made up of gingerbread. Its roof is composed of 921 pieces of Honey Graham cereal and coated with powdered sugar snow.
Big Red chewing gum rises up against the side of the house, working as a chimney. The windows are made out of sugar and corn syrup, which Duschel heated to 300 degrees to get the see-through effect.
The trees in the yard are made out of ice cream cones covered in green icing. Candy cane posts hold up the front porch’s roof.
Duschel also did scroll work on wreaths and railings and created tiny rocking chairs for the front porch.
“I really like doing little, small detailed work,” he said.
Surprisingly this is the first gingerbread house Duschel has ever made. He’s spent his career devoted to food, however, and currently works as a sous chef for the Debra Queen Steamboat.
Although this gingerbread house is his first, it certainly won’t be his last. He plans to make it a Christmas tradition.
The masterpiece is currently on display in his family’s Lincolnton home. It will soon be admired by the 20 plus guests visiting Christmas Eve, and no one’s allowed to lick the icing, take a bite out of the chimney or pull up an ice-cream cone tree. Instead, they will admire it from afar.
Duschel’s niece, 5-year-old Jessi Duschel, has already set a perfect example. She hasn’t set a finger on it “because my Uncle Patrick don’t want me to.”
Jessi’s favorite part of the house is the people out front. Each one was made by hand.
There’s Grandpa and his grandson who are snowball fighting, and Grandma who is watching from the porch. Then there’s a little girl, who has gone off with her sled to play by herself.
“The little girl doesn’t want to play with them because she’s a girl,” Jessi explained.
While she didn’t physically help with the house, Jessi did watch and offered her opinion.
“She gave me technical advice with the house,” Duschel said. “You know, I should make a dog.”
After Jessi and her relatives have their eye-fill of the house this Christmas, it will be carefully put away and saved for next year.
As for the future, there’s no telling what Duschel will cook up next.
“I like things that surprise people and make people happy,” he said.

Grandma (made out of rolled foudant) stands on the porch watching her husband and grandson have a snowball fight. Chris Dean / LTN Photo

by Sarah Grano

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