Today I caught up with last night’s The Great British Bake Off, which featured the remaining 7 contestants baking with sweet dough.
Cue the puns about buns.
Should you be an avid baker or not, the names of some of the yummiest buns are actually worth a look.
The recipe for Lady Arundel’s manchet goes back to the 17th century and their home shire is Sussex. It was of particular popularity amongst the aristocracy of the time, but these days they’re rarely seen – with cookbooks favouring the likes of the Bath bun instead.
Now, there is a market town in Sussex called Arundel famed for it’s castle. It’s name comes from Old English and means horehound (a herb) -dell. A second theory about the origins of the name is that it could also derive from Old French and mean little swallow.
Chelsea buns are one of the more famed buns available and indeed, my own mother baked a batch just last weekend. They originate from an 18th century bun house in Chelsea. The process involved in making them is remarkably similar to the even-better-known cinnamon swirl with one of the major differences being that currants are part of the mixture and chelsea buns tend to be more of a square spiral than a circular one.
Chelsea is also the name of a famed football team currently owned by Roman Abramovich and based in a borough of London. In the mid-20th century the borough of Chelsea became quite a fashionable area of London, and thus this may have inspired parents to use the name. Chelsea comes from Old English and means landing place.
Chester buns are from Cheshire, and are typically classic sweet yeasted buns made with condensed milk and topped with sugar.
Another place name (and one we’ve mentioned before), the town of Chester can be found in Cheshire, which is just east of North Wales. The name again derives from Old English and means fort.
The Colston bun was named after Sir Edward Colston and it’s traditional homeland, so to speak, is Bristol. The bun is flavoured with candied peel, spices and dried fruit.
The meaning of Colston took a little bit of effort to track down, even despite myself living not so far away from the little town of Colston Bassett. Cheese fans may know of Colston Basset, since it is one of only 6 towns with the permission to make Stilton cheese.
Now, here’s where a little local knowledge of mine comes in. The town of Colston Bassett is literally just down the road from a town named Cotgrave which was once home to a big coal mine; indeed the roads connecting the two are called Colston Gate and Colston Road.
Since the similar name Colton is known to derive from Cole, a name that means coal, then one could argue that Colston also has a meaning linked to coal, with the tun part meaning settlement/town. However, the theory comes a little unstuck by the addition of more local knowledge: the coal mine at Cotgrave was active from the 1950s, long after Colston Bassett came into being.
That said, after devising my theory I did come across a website or two which seem to believe that Colston does indeed mean coal town, so I shall rest my investigation here for the time being.
These buns rock, because Swedish tradition dictates one particular day of the year for their consumption: St. Lucy’s Day (13th December). As you may well be able to guess, these buns are flavoured with saffron (as well as either cinnamon or nutmeg) and tend to also contain currants.
Back in England, we traditionally cooked these delights on Sycamore leaves, I kid ye not.
So basically, my name is an ode to the saffron bun; if that isn’t a conversation started, then I don’t know what is.
One of the most expensive spices available, and a particularly vibrant shade of yellow which gives the saffron bun it’s colour. Yes, you guessed correctly, many bakers add food colouring to their saffron buns to compensate for being too tight-fisted with the saffron.
The Sally Lunn buns are another bun favoured over the Lady Arundel’s of yesteryear. It comes from Bath, and if you were to visit the quaint city you’d stumble across Sally Lunn’s house which, predictably, serves this delightful treats.
Whether Sally Lunn existed or not is subject to debate, although one theory goes that another lady called Solange ‘Sollie’ Luyon brought the recipe to Bath from France. There is also the theory that Sally Lunn was simply rhyming slang for bun.
Whether the bun’s namesake existed or not, the name Sally is a long ago penned nickname of Sarah, that these days is almost her own name.
Feeling hungry yet?