Thursday, 28 March 2013

One a penny, two a penny

Hot cross buns! Hot cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny
Hot cross buns!
If you have no daughters, give them to your sons
One a penny, two a penny
Hot cross buns!!

There is just no substitute for a well-made hot cross bun, like what I remember from my childhood.
Back in the day (did I just say that?), oh well, back in the day, my mum would make hot cross buns during Lent, and we would eat to our hearts delight, especially on Good Friday.
They were tasty spiced buns full of goodness like raisins and fruits, and topped with a cross of ginger icing. Mum's hot cross buns were a memorable part of Easter, and my brother and I always looked forward to them.

These days, one can hardly find a well-made hot cross bun, except one makes it from scratch oneself.
Now, they're mass-produced by various bakeries on the island, and have lost the authenticity of a true hot cross bun.
My daughter brought some home a few days ago, and they're just not what they should be.
But then again, whenever has mass-produced anything ever equalled to the real thing?

Local bakery hot cross buns
Definitely not one a penny, nor two a penny

 Even Brownie was not interested.
 Traditionally eaten on Good Friday, many stories abound on the creation of hot cross buns.
Thought to have pagan origins where the Greeks and Egyptians ate certain types of cakes in honour of their gods, as well as the Anglo-Saxons in honour of Eostre, their goddess of light and spring.

"Here are some of the old superstitions from folklore about hot cross buns:
• The buns, if baked and served on Good Friday, are said to be impervious to spoilage for the coming year
• Hot cross buns have medicinal qualities to help those who eat them recover from illness. Keep a bun or two to use throughout the year for medicinal purposes
• Sharing a hot cross bun with another is believed to ensure friendship through the coming year, especially if the phrase, “Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be,” is uttered while sharing
• Throughout the years, seafarers contended taking hot cross buns on a sea voyage prevented shipwrecks
• Hanging a hot cross bun in your kitchen each year will protect your kitchen from fire, as well as ensure the baking of all breads will come out well."

Today's buns originated in England in 1361, when a monk, Father Thomas Rockcliffe of Saint Alban's Abbey distributed them to the poor. They became extremely popular in England during the 18th and 19th centuries, and ended up being the subject of the nursery rhyme above.
They were made throughout the Lenten season, but were originally made for Good Friday only.According to the BBC website, the bread may represent communion and the spices may symbolize those used in Jesus' entombment. The symbolism of the cross is obvious.

I may end up baking some "real" hot cross buns after all.....

You may read more here on St. Alban's hot cross buns.

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  1. I agree entirely about modern hot cross buns. People seem to think that if you stick a few sultanas in the dough it makes a hot cross bun. Where is the beautiful scent of the fruit and spices? Where is the mixed peel? Where is the proper glaze on the top. If you do decide to make some can you e-mail me one please.

    1. Oh how I wish I could email you a freshly-baked proper hot cross bun.
      Sadly I did not end up baking any after all.
      One of my girlfriends popped over this morning, and she mentioned that she had purchased some buns from another bakery....she said they were ghastly!

  2. I've never had a hot cross bun. The only time I've ever seen them in bakeries is when I'm traveling. Too bad one of your homemade ones can't pop through the computer for me. :o)

    1. It would be nice if I could pop one through the computer for you Tammy, but like I told Scriptor above, I did not bake any after all.
      Hopefully when you do get your first taste of a hot cross bun, it will be well made.

  3. I can't even begin to recall when I last had a hot cross bun. Probably when they were one a penny!

  4. Oh GB, you are too funny. If only I could hit a send button on my computer, and have them on the way to you, I would bake some for you and CJ, and whoever else has not had a decent hot cross bun.


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