In her 1881 autobiography, Hannah Last Cornaby remembered the difficult winter of 1856: “Christmas Eve came, and my darlings, with childish faith, hung up their stockings, wondering if Santa Claus would fill them. With aching heart, which I concealed from them, I assured them they would not be forgotten; and they fell asleep with joyful anticipations for the morrow. Not having a particle of sweetening, I knew not what to do. They must not, however, be disappointed. I then thought of some squashes in the house, which I boiled, then strained off the liquid, that, when simmered a few hours, made a sweet syrup. With this, and a little spice, I made gingerbread dough which, when cut into every conceivable variety of design, and baked in a skillet, (I had no stove,) filled their stockings and pleased them as much as would the most fancy confectionaries."