A long time ago, I said some shameful and judgemental things.
Okay, it was yesterday, and the thing I said was that hot cross buns should be made to a strictly traditional recipe. Because the universe has a habit of instantly smiting me whenever I take a judgemental turn, on Good Friday I made hot cross buns with toffee topping, by accident. Let me explain.
At the moment, we’re neck-deep in Konmari – the Japanese art of getting rid of all you junk so your place doesn’t look like something off Hoarders any more. Marie Kondo, the expert behind Konmari, suggests to get it all done in six months. That gives me two and half more weeks to find a loving new home for all of my unwanted possessions. Which turns out to be most of them. So, a pretty big task.
That’s why I found myself arranging to sell a large bookshelf to a furniture dealer on Good Friday morning. The hot cross buns were on the oven and the glaze was on the stove, when a cheerful middle-aged woman with in a tiny van turned up to collect the shelf. She loaded it up like the professional she was, and I managed to sell her an antique magazine stand in the process. So far so good.
As she was leaving, my parents turned up to eat the buns. I took a momemt to mentally switch gears from “E-commerce” to “Special family time”. Suddenly, I was beset by the feeling that I’d forgotten something. Something important. Then I smelled caramael.
Racing over to the stove, I saw my sticky bun glaze was now very sticky indeed. It was, in fact, toffee. Panicking, I drizzled it over the buns, and apologetically took them to the table. But instead of disappointment, I was greeted with excitement and admiration for my innovation.
My mind flew to yesterday’s post where I’d lambasted anyone who would dare to add so much as a choc chip to this time honoured dish. And what had I made – toffee hot cross buns!
It got me thinking about all the reasons people might deviate from tradition.
There might be people who are intolerant to one or more of the main ingredients – yeast, lactose and gluten are all common allergens. There may be others for whom the traditional bun is tied up in terrible childhood memories, but adding some banana makes it just different enough. Perhaps you’re part of a marginalised community and you don’t feel included in this particular tradition.
Maybe you were just selling some furniture at the wrong time.
My lesson this Easter: food traditions beong to everyone. That means that everyone is free to use them how they are able to, and how they like.