Saturday, 28 March 2009
Easter is coming soon, as I'm sure we all knew since the supermarkets stocked up on chocolate eggs and hot cross buns on Boxing Day. But I'm not upset about that. I find that a little ironic detachment about the silliness of it all is helpful. What does annoy me is what they've done to hot cross buns.
I have entirely given up on buying hot cross buns from the supermarket, and now only buy them from the best bakeries. This does not include Bakers Delight and Brumby's. I know that Cornucopia in Braddon does a nice one: they are the ones in the picture. I tried to buy some from Flute last week when I went to get a new shelf from the Government furniture disposal shop to use as a temporary pantry, but they'd sold out. Tips are welcome... And yes, I do make my own at Easter, but I'm not an everyday baker.
What is it that bothers me? Supermarkets sell no-fruit buns, which is silly but I guess probably sort of OK for fussy children. The chocolate chip hot cross bun may be a bit weird, but I can accept that as a modern development. I don't want to eat chocolate for breakfast more than about three times a year, but I can see the point.
It's the mixed peel. I like mixed peel. I like the little bitter citrus bite giving that little kick to offset the sweetness. You don't need a lot - there's maybe 3 to 5 pieces in each of the Cornucopia buns. But three or four years ago now, the big bakeries started advertising "No Peel!" on their packs of buns. As if that were a good thing. Oh well, I just bought the other ones. But as time has gone by, they have nearly all dropped the peel, and no longer advertise it. I fish out my glasses and try to read the small print on the ingredients, but none of my regular supermarkets now stock an old-fashioned bun with mixed fruit. Some varieties even have no currants, just sultanas.
Damn you modern world! I want an old-fashioned bun. What makes me really cross is the big bakeries' pretence that this little bit of cheapening is somehow a good thing. I'm reminded of the story of the airline that saved millions by cutting one olive per salad serving. Shaving away at the corners is a pure bean-counting exercise. It's all about saving production cost dollars. It's a cut in quality that they think will go unnoticed. Cut all the corners you can, bugger the customer!