Every year, without fail, the same story hits the news headlines in January and October. Consumers angry that shops have put (enter festive holiday item here) out so early. Being January, this same story has hit about Hot Cross Buns. How dare bakeries and supermarkets even think about selling this religious bun loaf in January? Here’s why . . .
Because if we had the choice we would eat Hot Cross Buns all year long.
Superior to the rather plain and boring fruit bun, the Hot Cross Bun often contains more fruit, is softer, toasts better and comes with the in-built game of peeling the icing cross off the bun in one go! Who would settle for the inferior fruit bun?
After the festivities of Christmas, from December 27th Woolworths decided to return their highly sought after buns to shelves. This prompted the expected amount of outrage from a few consumers who have had bad experiences with these delicious buns in the past. But this anti-Hot Cross Bun army also cited some new members this year . . . Churches. Drawing on the humble religious beginnings of the Hot Cross Bun, churches are condemning the sale of these items outside the Easter holiday.
So I did a bit of research. (I never thought I would ever type the phrase ‘History of the Hot Cross Bun’ into Google). Surely this isn’t the first time the Church has kicked up a fuss about the religious significance of Hot Cross Buns. And it isn’t.
During the reign of Elizabeth I of England, the London Clerk of Markets issued a decree condemning the sale of Hot Cross Buns outside funerals, Good Friday and Christmas, a ban which continued through the time of James I of England. If any individual was found to have broken this decree, all the contraband buns would be forfeited and given to the poor.
While I don’t mind the idea of the forfeited product being given to those in need, this interesting ban caused an interesting outcome. People started baking these buns at home. If these products were not going to be supplied in the marketplace, interested consumers were going to find another way to eat them.
That is why the church is taking the wrong approach with this baked bun. Standing righteously on the steps of a church condemning those who dare to eat much-loved Hot Cross Buns only works against them. Why deny an incredibly interested public in a product that they love? It certainly beats the crackers at Communion and only distances people further from religious orders.
Now I am not religious, but if these churches were really interested in spreading the meaning behind Hot Cross Buns they should be encouraging Woolworths and Coles to sell them all year round. Rather than waste time denying people this delicious food, spend that time alerting people to the meaning behind them – spread awareness. And then get them thinking about it throughout the entire year as they enjoy Hot Cross Buns in April, October and January.
But if that doesn’t satisfy the religious orders we could always thank Ferguson Plarre for some clever marketing. Noticing the naysayers against Hot Cross Buns, this innovative company has come out with their own Not Cross Buns sporting a lovely icing smiley face rather than cross.
That is a bun I would be happy to eat all year round – even if it does defy Queen Elizabeth I!