Hopefully nearly everyone is sick by now of reading comment in the papers exploring how the current recession is going to stir a new spiritual awakening/make us realise less is more/make us develop a new-found liking for Blue Nun/and so on. I know you know what I mean, so I’m not going to elaborate. Now I know that perhaps I should really be exploring deeper questions, those of relations of production and so forth, but there is one thing I want to say before doing so.

I hope the recession makes it easier to buy buns, of the type referred to by the French, notably Proust, as madeleines, and the Spanish as magdalenas, though they also have a long tradition of preparation here.

I went to a place in a shopping centre on Saturday that sold all sorts of croissants, of which the chicken croissant will be the most illustrative. It sold scones too: teddy bear’s head-sized ones, with a texture that recalled plasterboard mixed with castor oil. Those cost a whopping €2.65. I had a cup of coffee, or an ‘Americano’ which cost €2.65 too, and it tasted like muck.

All I wanted was a cup of tea and a bun. But tea is a rip-off -€2.50 for boiled water and a tea-bag- so I preferred to buy a coffee instead, since the robbery wouldn’t feel as obvious.

Just a bun. No raisins, no chocolate chips, no blueberries. One that strikes the right balance between fluffiness and moisture: not the plastic-wrapped frosted muffins that taste like the foam of a car seat.

And it should cost about 30c.


15 Responses to “Buns”

  1. 2 Hugh Green February 2, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Yes, I mean Fairy Cakes without the icing and the crappy name.

  2. 3 JG February 2, 2009 at 10:20 pm


    A quick off-topic question if you don’t mind.

    Ages ago you posted a YouTube clip of an Arab woman doing sort of free-style poetry on stage somewhere in American. I can’t find it in your archives or on YouTube because I forget her name.

    Does any of this ring a bell?

  3. 5 JG February 3, 2009 at 1:12 am

    That’s the one. Ta very much.

  4. 6 coc February 3, 2009 at 11:39 am

    I never heard them called anything other than fairy cakes.

  5. 7 Hugh Green February 3, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Hmm, are they the sort of thing you’d take out of the press on St Stephen’s Day, whereas I might take them out of the cupboard on Boxing Day?

  6. 8 copernicus February 3, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Madeleines are in reasonably plentiful supply in places like Maison des Gourmets next door to Grogans. I think they are about 50 cent. Last time I was in there buying cakes, the girl chucked us about six for free because my wife conducted the shopping experience through the medium of French.

    Also get them in Fallon and Byrne.

  7. 9 Hugh Green February 3, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    Well that’s good to hear. Not the bit about the discount for speaking French though. These days I open my mouth in French and it turns to sciure de bois (thanks Google translator).

  8. 10 Donagh February 3, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    Hmmm, free Madeleines. Now that brings me back.

  9. 11 coc February 4, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Where I come from it’s Stephen’s Day, not St Stephen’s Day. Ditto for Stephen’s Green. And the entrance to Stephen’s Green at the top of Grafton Street is called the Traitors Gate before we get into a bun fight over that. Or a fairy cake fight, as the case may be.

  10. 12 Hugh Green February 4, 2009 at 11:45 am

    it’s Stephen’s Day, not St Stephen’s Day

    I beg your pardon. I clearly have not been paying much attention for the last decade.

    It’s good that you mention that thing is called the Traitors Gate. Until then, I had no idea what you called it, despite having walked past it every day for several years. My ignorance of Irish culture and history knows few bounds.

  11. 13 coc February 4, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Ah, sure weren’t you suffering under the yoke of the hated oppressors up North while we were all down here learning how to hate your oppressors? It used to be an optional subject on the Leaving, you know? – “800 Years – The Bastards”

    I got an honour in it myself. Time was you hadn’t a hope of a Civil Service job without a least a B in 8YTB. Now they couldn’t give them away!

  12. 14 Hugh Green February 4, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Of course, as colonial subjects the colonizing power sought to demonstrate to us how enlightened and liberal it was.

    So we got to study subjects such as ‘Why it is perfectly understandable but wrong to blame the Brits for everything’, and ‘Imperialism: many people say it was terrible, but there were some good bits – especially for The Irish’, and my personal favourite, ‘Don’t let’s be beastly to Oliver Cromwell’

  13. 15 copernicus February 4, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    Weird of the powers-that-were to call their memorial arch, dedicated as it was to the Dublin Fusiliers, “Traitor’s Gate”. One would have thought something more in keeping with the mores of the times like – oh I dunno – “Fusiliers Arch”.

    Mystifying. Truly, the past is another country.

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