Nowadays, there are many variations on gingerbread - gingerbread houses made of crisp biscuit, the soft, crumbly, German lebkuchen, and the sweet and sticky desert cake - to name just three. Whatever form it takes, the gingerbread will be flavoured chiefly with ginger, either dried and ground or perhaps preserved for a bit of an indulgence.
But offer these treats to someone from the 17th or 18th centuries, and they might well be disappointed, since their gingerbread was much more complex.
Amongst the recipe books and household manuals from this period amassed by Wellcome Collection, it’s rare for there not to be at least one form of gingerbread recorded by the mistress of the house. And even the most cursory glance through the ingredients reveals gingerbreads with a riotous assembly of spices and flavourings.