It’s called ‘cream bun’ for a reason

Jul 02, 2022
Memories of meals shared, Mum’s special recipes, sneaky treats at the Bakery after school with your pocket money... Source: @macking.about/Instagram

We all know with what passion King Richard cried, ‘My kingdom for a horse!’, (and we all know it didn’t end very well), but I think I can empathise with his cry as I search endlessly for the ultimate childhood cream bun – the one with real cream and the little shiny drop of raspberry jam nestled on the top.

So while not offering my entire earthly kingdom for that little bit of soft, doughy fluffery, I still sob, ‘My kingdom for a real cream bun’ as we survey bakery after bakery.

Even on a recent trip to the country, thinking that surely real, salt-of-the-earth, country bakers would lovingly fill their cream buns with fresh cream, alas no, they too have succumbed to that bucket of emulsified fat. You know in truth they should be called Polysorbate 60 buns.

I get that they are concerned with shelf life but, hey, buns don’t stay fresh more than a day anyway. So, my childhood cream bun reminiscences have to stay on the back burner for the time being and, instead, I have been thinking of other treats from the ‘pre fake cream’ days.

If you have read some of my previous articles I have talked about memory involving smell (those Proustian moments) and hearing. Food memories are also a strong link to our past. Gustatory memory, while a part of our evolutionary survival process, enabling us to recall things eaten that probably weren’t such a good idea, is strongest when associated with our other senses.

Memories of meals shared, Mum’s special recipes, sneaky treats at the Bakery after school with your pocket money – all have been deposited into our hippocampus. Interestingly, as with programs using music for Alzheimer’s patients, researchers have been looking at utilising food from a patient’s earlier life to help stimulate memories and reduce anxiety (I know a real cream bun now would certainly reduce my anxiety).

Evocative foodie memories abound for me with food that was home-made. Most of them reside in the ‘sweet’ family with recipes for slices, cakes and desserts paramount. There are of course main meals of memorial worth but as this article is built around the iconic cream bun (that’s real cream folks!), I feel I must focus on that side of the gustatory table.

Here’s a short list to get you thinking:

  • Apple crumble
  • Carnation milk ice cream – beating till your arms ached (pre Kenwood!)
  • Rice pudding – my husband reckons the sultanas swelled up like bloated ticks – that’s wrecked it for you
  • Junket or honey milk velvet – great for squishing through your teeth
  • Bread and butter pudding – never could do the soggy bread thing
  • Steamed pudding with lashings of golden syrup
  • Vanilla slice with SAOs
  • Pineapple upside down cake
  • Passionfruit slice – the one with condensed cream filling
  • School fete toffees with the little sprinkles on the top
  • Real home-made sponge cake … vanilla, chocolate or ginger
  • Fairy cakes with real home-made icing
  • Chocolate fudge

Hang on though – what’s even better than remembering? Make your own Vanilla slice!!

Cover the base of an oven tray with a layer of SAO biscuits. Make a thick vanilla custard almost to blanc mange consistency and pour immediately over the SAO biscuit base to approximately ¾” thickness. Quickly cover with another layer of SAO biscuits before a skin can form on the custard. Make a thin passionfruit or vanilla icing and spread over the top layer of SAOs. Set aside to cool and, when firm, cut into squares.

That should take you back!!

Tonight we are having apple crumble and home-made custard. I know this will be a happy gustatory memory for my girls when they are older as is my mum’s pineapple fluff for me (not sure that is the true name for it). And, yes I know it is definitely a first world problem but, ‘Real cream bun, real cream bun, wherefore art though real cream bun’.

See, even Shakespeare understood.

To read more nostalgia articles from Pam Van Der Kooy, head here. Or you can find her brilliant nostalgia book Stuff We Had in the 50s and 60s at the Starts at 60 Marketplace, here.

Leave your comment

Please sign in to post a comment.
Retrieving conversation…
Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up