20 November 2020 – St Edmund’s Day

I’ll be honest, the only thing that’s kept me going today is knowing there would be buns at the end of it. My mind, however, had skipped the part where I actually had to make them. 

My first attempt was before work when I realised I’d thrown away my rice flour due to it being several years out of date. My second was during my lunch break, but going to buy more rice flour and my Stir Up Sunday ingredients took longer than anticipated. So my third attempt, after work, when I was knackered and slightly screen broken, was the winner. 

It’s St Edmond’s Day. And in the town of Southwold, Suffolk, it’s traditional to bake St Edmond’s buns or St Edmond’s Suffolk buns and give them to school children. Bugger the school children, they’re all mine. 

I found two recipes, one which called for yeast, and one which didn’t. Given my pathetic track record for all things yeasty, I went with the other one. Besides, this one had caraway seeds in it, and I am rather partial to a caraway seed

Without all the proving, it was a very quick make. Bob Marley’s Jamming was on the radio providing the perfect tempo for rubbing the fat into the flour. For once I used dairy free butter and not marg, making the whole breadcrumb consistency a possibility. I even remembered the xanthum gum. Mixing everything together, I rolled it out into a very thick slab. The recipe called for a height of an inch. But if I’d done that, I would have only had about 3 buns, so I lowered my dough and raised my expectations.

While they baked I had my tea proper, so when St Edmund’s buns came out, cracked and parched like flu-bitten lips, I was ready to lash them with honey. It’s said the honey is to make them sticky, just like St Edmund’s supposed sticky end (looking like a hedgehog he was so littered with arrows, and a chatty wolf guarding his removed head). 

Although my recipe was supposed to result in scone-like buns, they actually turned out more like tall, crumbly biscuits. Or aniseedy dusty pucks. I feel like I might need a bucket of custard to get through these. Incidentally, St Edmund was the first patron saint of England, being usurped by St George in the 14th century. He’s also the patron saint of pandemics. But the less said about that the better. 

And now on to the results of yesterday’s World’s Biggest Liar Contest. So which out of my five tall tales was the truth? Well…

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…I lied, of course. They were all true. 

a) It might have been The Bundhu Boys playing but otherwise, that particular festival was crazy.

b) The bit I missed out was that I made the strap-on penises for the actors, and they were deliberately trying to make me laugh. They just got more than they bargained for.

c) Absolutely true. The policeman was the son of a preacher woman, who was teaching me something, in this case how to safely fire a gun. We just happened to be in the desert. In Australia. And I experienced synesthesia.

d) Martin and I are very old friends, we used to do this party trick at youth theatre about 30 years ago.

e) This guy was actually the first of two men that trip to tell me about having their penis bitten by a spider. I guess I must have one of those faces.

Thanks to everyone who voted. Right, I’m off for another bun.


The Everyday Lore Project has been running since St Distaff’s Day on 7 January 2020 and will run until 12th Night on 6 January 2021. Buns today, mince pie eating competition tomorrow, Stir Up Sunday on, well, Sunday. My waistline may never recover. Feel free to subscribe for some more terrible cookery and shenanigans. Or just pop back. But with only 47 days to go, be quick!

Resources

Cooper, Q. and Sullivan, P. (1994) Maypoles, Martyrs & Mayhem: 366 Days of British Myths, Customs & Eccentricities, London, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

St Edmond’s Suffolk Buns recipe

Another recipe

http://www.bbc.co.uk/suffolk/content/articles/2007/11/16/st_edmund_buns_feature.shtml

http://www.foodsofengland.co.uk/stedmundsbuns.htm

https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofEngland/Edmund-original-Patron-Saint-of-England/

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