Slow and Steady

Posts Tagged ‘Easter

This is a question I’ve asked myself since I was little girl.

As a child in a traditional Jamaican household, Easter weekend meant Scubeech fish (escoveitch fish is the proper term) with hardough bread, and bun and cheese.

The fish and bread are quite obvious, but as I was thinking about this last night, I realised that I never got an answer to my question.

So I turned to trusty google and found the following article on Jamaicans.com

Yum, let’s all have a hot cross bun. Jamaicans probably remember the universal ditty associated with the delicious treats—
Hot cross buns, hot cross buns
One a penny, two a penny
Hot cross buns;
If you have no daughters, give them to your sons.
One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns.

Sung quite a bit at Easter time, the song reminds many of childhood delights, but most people probably don’t realize that hot cross buns pre-date the Jamaican bun and cheese and led to their popularity. Sometimes called Easter buns, they are a big part of Jamaican culture, just like several other representative foods such as saltfish or ackee. The concept dates back to ancient Babylon, when cross buns were offered to Ishtar, the pagan queen of heaven. Ancient Greeks made similar cakes to honor the moon.

The tradition found its way to England, where cross buns were eaten on Good Friday, with the cross symbolizing the crucifixion of Jesus. When the British captured Jamaica, of course they brought the custom to the island. Over time though the English version of the cross bun transitioned to the Jamaican version, with some key differences.

Jamaica’s version is made with molasses, while the buns from England were made with honey. In Jamaica, you eat the bun with cheese, a combination that has become ingrained in island culture. British custom has waned when it comes to eating hot cross buns as fasting food on Good Friday, but in Jamaica the practice is as prevalent as ever. Today the custom is seen as more Jamaican than British. And eating cheese is now a year-round practice, while the bun and cheese dish is prevalent primarily during the Easter holiday.

This made me laugh, it is so like Jamaicans to take something and completely change it up and make it their own delicious way. This year I’m attempting to make my own bun instead of buying it. I’ll post some pictures later along with my fried fish… Maybe I should take the healthy out of my blog name! x


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