RUMSON: A LUCKY FIRST IRISH SODA BREAD

013015 Irish soda bread3Debbie Bagnell, the winner of last year’s Irish Soda Bread competition at the Oceanic Public Library in Rumson. Below, a slice of her bread. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

013015 Irish soda bread1“It was so surreal. I felt like it was part of a movie scene. There were men in kilts and bagpipes,” says Debbie Bagnell.

A self-described cooking-and-crafting hobbyist and homemaker says, Bagnell was recalling the day her Irish Soda Bread won first place at Oceanic Public Library‘s first annual baking competition in Rumson.

The win was a bit flukey.

“I had no intention of entering,” she said. “I had never baked an Irish Soda Bread before.”

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RUMSON: LEVITTOWN ON A TABLE TOP

gingerbreadhouselady 1

Debbie Bagnell and this year’s output of gingerbread cookie houses. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

PIEHOLE logoThis time every year, Rumson’s Debbie Bagnell becomes “the gingerbread house lady,” and her dining room table is transformed into a miniature Levittown of scrumptious little abodes.

How popular are her cookies at Holy Cross, the school her kids attend? So popular that former Saturday Night Live actress and borough resident Sioban Hogan performs a sketch that parodies the trials and tribulations of going through a year without access to Bagnell’s creations.

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RUMSON: MEET THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE LADY

gingerbreadhouselady 3Debbie Bagnell of Rumson, aka “The Gingerbread House Lady,” at her dining room table, where she’s building more than gingerbread houses. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

gingerbreadhouselady 2Add up her past 30 or so Christmases, and Debbie Bagnell of Rumson has turned out between 1,500 and 2,000 gingerbread houses.

“I’m part elf,” says Bagnell. “I have a little notch in my ear. So, it’s magic – that’s how this all gets done,” she says, gesturing to a dining room table covered with a miniature Levittown of gingerbread houses.

PieHole spent a snowy morning at Bagnell’s holiday-decorated home getting the inside scoop on mass producing gingerbread houses.

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