WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Dec. 6, 2013) -- A sweet holiday delight, created by three Soldiers and boasting exquisite detail, greets general officers and other Army leaders who dine at the Army Executive Dining Facility at the Pentagon.

The sugary delight, a gingerbread house of the U.S. Capitol, is a welcome diversion that brings a smile to Army leaders who have very hectic schedules and are in and out of meetings all day, said Spc. Samantha Poe.

Poe, who designed the gingerbread house, assembled the creation with Sgt. Rose Picard and
Sgt. Kyoungmin Park.

The gingerbread house is on display in the entryway of the exclusive Pentagon dining area.

"It is a great way to remind people of the holidays," said Picard, a pastry chef. "They walk in to the smell of gingerbread. It's nice for the holidays."

Details on the house include tiny wreaths and candles on the windows, licorice garland, candy adornments, and sugary icicles and snow.

The items used in making the two-foot-tall structure include 32 pounds of gingerbread and 20 pounds of powdered sugar, as well as an assortment of sweets, including marshmallows and ice cream cones.

The ice cream cones were flipped over and piped with icing, transforming them into miniature trees. Cornflakes were mixed with melted marshmallows and green dye to create textured greenery for the lawn.

A fondant Statue of Freedom, created by Park, is perched atop the gingerbread house.

Poe, who comes from a family of engineers, said she enjoyed the mathematics of the project and doing the proportion and scaling aspect of the design. The house is 4.5 feet. long and 3 feet wide.

The idea came from a gingerbread house Poe saw of the Capitol last year, she said. In this design, there were some liberties taken, she said, including adding a third staircase to the building.

"It is great to see it come to life," she said.

It took more than six days for the three Soldiers to construct the house. They worked on it in addition to their regular duties during their busy days at the dining facility, where generals and their civilian equivalents and guests dine.

"We were working in a very small room," said Park, who has a background in accounting but found a love and talent for the culinary arts.

"We didn't have a chance to step back and look at the whole of it," she said. "On the very last day, we finally had a chance to put everything on and step back to see it. It was amazing."

Poe worked as a pastry chef in four- and five-star restaurants in the civilian world before enlisting.

"It's a great job. We love what we do," said Poe.

The clientele just love the gingerbread house, and people get excited wanting to know who is behind this "famous gingerbread house," she said.

"We've even had generals come back to shake our hands," she said.

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