Sunday, 17 March 2013

Chocolate-chip hot cross buns ... how dumb is that? (a somewhat curmudgeonly reflection)

Does anyone else think that chocolate-chip hot cross buns are remarkably silly?

Easter has been associated with chocolate for some time, now.   Back when many more people "gave up" various treats for Lent than they do today, chocolate was often high on the "give up for Lent" list.  As a result, when Lent ended at Easter, many people would enjoy a bit of excess in their Easter return to what they gave up for Lent.  In the case of chocolate, this also meant that confectionary companies produced special Easter chocolate items, such as chocolate eggs or chocolate rabbits.  (Eggs, being an ancient symbol of new life, were a part of Easter for centuries.  People would dye hard-boiled eggs for Easter.  Orthodox churches still distribute dyed eggs at the end of their Easter liturgies.  Egg-shaped novelty chocolates were a more recent practice.)

On the other hand, the hot cross bun was an item, not for Easter but for Lent.  It was produced as something sweet but not too luxurious - more like fruit bread than cake in its texture - and thus, very appropriate for Lent.

Once the Easter festival begins (sometime on the Saturday evening of Easter weekend), the austere Lenten hot cross buns should give way to more luxurious sweets (preferably made from the decidely non-Lenten chocolate).

So, liturgically and gastronomically, a chocolate-chip hot cross bun is a mixed metaphor.

On the one hand, it's too luxurious for Lent.

On the other hand, it's not luxurious enough for Easter.

Perhaps that's why chocolate-chip hot cross buns start appearing in the supermarkets during the first week in January, well before the beginning of Lent.  They're the hot cross bun you eat when you're not doing Lent.

No comments:

Post a comment

Constructive comments, from a diversity of viewpoints, are always welcome. I reserve the right to choose which comments will be printed. I'm happy to post opinions differing from mine. Courtesy, an ecumenical attitude, and a willingness to give your name always help. A sense of humour is a definite "plus", as well.