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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

One a Penny, Two a Penny

I am not a fan of hot cross buns.  At best, I like the bites that include icing (like a four year old child!) and you can have the rest.  For those of you who have somehow lost out on this long Christian tradition, we eat hot cross buns on Good Friday, and I guess if you actually like them, on Easter Sunday. You hang one in the kitchen so you never burn your bread. Hot cross buns baked on Good Friday never go bad. Or something like that.

Superstition.  Unless you stick an oven timer in that bun hanging in your kitchen, you have to remember to get your bread out of the oven on your own. To ask that bun to keep your bread from burning is just...voodoo.

It seems that hot cross buns were corralled onto Good Friday by old Queen Elizabeth, who didn't want  a daily reminder of the Catholic Church, or as she put it "popery", in a stick bun and passed a law that they could only be sold on Good Friday and Easter.

So you can imagine my surprise, when trotting around the internets reading the Catholic news (it's astounding how much Catholic news there is!) that there is a whole area of the country that goes berserk over hot cross buns (to each his own, I suppose)  and can't get enough of them.  It seems bakeries bake them only during Lent. So hot cross buns are like vine ripened tomatoes and blueberries, only in season for a short time.

Get 'em while they're hot!

To which I have to just point out: it's Lent!  Aren't the words "Lenten TREAT" an oxymoron?

Given how I actually feel about them, perhaps I should consider eating one every day during Lent. I'll have to choose the kind where the cross is cut into the bun, rather than made of delicious icing.


Katney said...

My grandmotehr made hot cross buns during Lent. She was inclined to recite poetry which she had learned as a child (or sometimes made up herself on the spur of the moment.)

Hot Cross Buns
Hot Cross Buns
One a'penny, two a'penny
Hot cross Buns
If your daughers won't eat them
You can give them to your sons.

Angela said...

Aside from the aforementioned ditty (I learned to play "Hot Cross Buns" on the piano as a child), I'm not familiar with hot cross buns. I've never had one (and, to be honest, I didn't know they were a real thing). After your less than glowing recommendation, I most likely won't go out of my way to find them, but it's interesting to know that their history. :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with you 100% on the oxymoronishness of "Lenten Treat." I always felt more than a tinge of guilt when we SISTERS were treated to a fish dinner every Friday by the K of C. I suppose the Knights had a fish fry to raise funds for their charitable works, and I suppose that getting folks to drop $7 a plate for the fish served the two-fold purpose of raising money and reminding folks to abstain from meat (given that so many folks seem to be so "forgetful" these days!) Anyway, I'm glad to be in a different parish now, and no more fish dinners. I have to do my own remembering, and it's more of a penance to make my own meal and skip the social hour! It's hard to suffer when you're enjoying dinner with the friendly parishioners.
Here's an idea for giving up something that's not too difficult: give up looking for parking spaces close to the door when you go daily mass, the grocery, or any place with rows of parking spaces. Arrive early, park further away, and walk more. Pray a decade of the rosary (sorrowful mysteries) while taking the extra steps!
Peace and blessings,
A Sister in the Great State of Texas

Maureen said...

Here in glorious downtown Brisbane, Hot Cross Buns appear in the supermarkets on Boxing Day....of course they do, people "expect" them, that's what the supermarkets say. On Boxing Day.Chocolate Rabbits wait until the far more respectable time of New Year's day to make their appearance, after all, the chocolate Santas have to be sold off cheaply first.
I like them! - the buns, not the rabbits. Once upon a time I would stick to tradition and eat them only on Good Friday - but they are there for the picking - and they're SO nice!

Anonymous said...

Texas, at least your KofC only had a fish fry. My church has a shrimp feast. You have to register ahead of time, and only adults are allowed. I boggle every year when they announce this. Like the long lines I see outside Red Lobster on Fridays during Lent. Somehow I don't quite see downing expensive lobster and seafood as fulfilling the lenten obligation.

Marion Teague said...

Our local supermarket starts stocking them, along with Easter eggs, right after Boxing Day (it's how we know Christmas is over!)and actually for most of the year. They are rather tasty - need to be buttered.
I did read once that they are actually pagan in origin, representing the moon with its four quarters. Something else which has been absorbed into Christian practice - and quite right too.
However perhaps Catholics need reminding that pigging out on hot cross buns on Good Friday is not exactly fasting...

abishag said...

I'm unimpressed by hot cross buns myself, but I'm sad that there's no way for me to get fresh paczki in Los Angeles. Unfortunately my parents are visiting from Chicago on Ash Wednesday, not Fat Tuesday. No paczki for me!

Anonymous said...

Aloha Sister!

The large number of Portuguese Catholics in Hawaii has turned the islands' Fat Tuesday into Malasada Tuesday. A malasada is a soft, yeast doughnut, and is probably one of the most wonderfully simple, delicious things to eat. I have fond memories of my grandmother and her sisters making hundreds of them before Ash Wednesday every year.

Unknown said...

Ah, you've never had my mother's hot cross buns! So fresh and yeasty and soft, and just a little sweet.

I always thought the tradition was to bake them on Good Friday, then eat them on Easter day. At least that's what we did. It's such a sacrifice to bake dozens of them without sampling any!