It seems to me that the humble Hot Cross Bun is one of the most memory-inducing seasonal snacks around. Every year when we start baking, the stories start making their way into our little shop, along with our customers. Of course, one of the most common is the lasting memory that so many of our older customers have of the Perryman’s family baking hot cross buns, and only hot cross buns, on Good Friday, and selling them from the side door on Margaret Street. Apparently, the queue to get the buns would stretch all the way down Tynte Street and past the fire station. It was like iPhone release day, except more delicious.
But there are other memories too. There are those who recall a time when hot cross buns weren’t available until the week before Easter each year. Opinions are mixed over whether we like having them alongside our Boxing Day leftovers or not! And there are special memories too. One customer buys a dozen each year to take to the annual family gathering, not because she likes them particularly, but because they were her Grandpop’s favourite. Last year, a customer shared that he was breaking his diet to have one that morning, toasted with butter, because it reminded him of the breakfast he had on his wedding day. (He had been so nervous he had eaten three that morning!) One of our little friends confided that for “years and years”, she only liked the chocolate chip kind, but that now that she is a “big kid” (six years old) she likes the kind with fruit. My own, more recently formed memory, is how the 2019 Hot Cross Bun season coincided with my pregnancy, and what an excellent morning sickness cure they turned out to be!
Yes, it really does seem that Hot Cross Buns are as filled with memories as they are with sultanas and currants. And even though they are famous for being delicious, I really think that is my favourite thing about them. Biting in to my first bun of the year is always a tasty experience, but it is also a little bit more special than just a snack. It brings back a lifetime of happy memories, and makes me wonder what new ones will be created going forward. This is especially poignant this year as I watch my little son grow and develop, and maybe even have his own first Hot Cross Bun!
What about you? What memories of Hot Cross Buns do you have?