Thursday, 2 April 2015

'The Sky is Falling', Easter Edition

Colonial bun mass-production: The Abel and Company Wholesale Pastry-cooks factory in 1897 Sydney, which at Easter processed (at least according to their advertising copy) "the quantity of Hot Cross Buns...almost too stupendous for belief".

ABEL AND COMPANY, LTD., WHOLESALE PASTRYCOOKS. (1897, October 30). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 29. Retrieved April 2, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71279734


Tomorrow is Good Friday, the day on which Hot Cross Buns are traditionally baked and eaten (which may come as a surprise to those readers who now enjoy them from the beginning of February).

However, don't feel bad if you buy your buns rather than baking them. The commercialisation of Easter, and the mass manufacture of Hot Cross Buns, is almost as old as people bemoaning the impending loss of the tradition of eating them.

From 1854, the editor of the charmingly named Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer advises that the worth of Hot Cross Buns is more than their taste. It is, in fact, their often-forgotten meaning:

"Who eats of 'Hot Cross Buns,' remembering their origin and the lesson they convey, will be
a wiser and a better man." (1)

Twenty-five years later, in 1879, the social column in the Adelaide Observer  had this to say about the tradition of eating Hot Cross Buns:

"The simple fact is that they have lost their popularity in losing their significance. We may continue for a few years to eat [them]... if we like them, but we shall not have the appetite for them that our ancestors possessed." (2)

136 years later, we are still scoffing them down in their thousands each year - even if some of those are decidedly non-traditional choc-chip. Happy Easter, cookery friends. Enjoy being part of the living history of the Hot Cross Bun.



1. BELL'S LIFE IN SYDNEY. (1854, April 15). Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW : 1845 - 1860), p. 2. Retrieved April 2, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59758533
2.Social. HOT CROSS BUNS. (1879, April 19). Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904), p. 19. Retrieved April 2, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160119907