Every morning I as walk past my local bakery (or patisserie if you’re French or a bit posh) the sweet smell of fresh baked cakes and crusty bread whafts temptingly on the air.
Throughout the dark winter and now in the early weeks of summer early every morning this little beacon of light has been serving long queues of men who physically graft for a living. The roofers, builders, double glazers, landscape gardeners – there they stand in their high vis vests, tatoos, no 2 hair cuts queuing for supplies sliced bread pudding, fairly cakes, chocolate eclairs, scones and donuts – the street becomes jammed with trucks awaiting the return of their owners. Behind glass fronted cabinets ladies in white caps and overalls stand waiting to take their orders behind condensation fronted glass windows.
I ask myself why someone would consume nearly their whole daily calorie intake in one bread pudding slice? Then again I am inclined to think these gentlemen are very sensible and have discovered a very valuable oasis on the high street.
– The bakery shop is quick and convenient – an excellent source of high energy food.
– It’s a bit like going back to your childhood – A chance through to bring sweetness and some waky fun into the mundanity of life with a – bright cheery smarty cupcakes, ginger bread men, toffee apples.
– A chance to explore – Have you tried every cake in the bakery? – if not get tasting and discover something new.
– Nothing beats the smell of fresh baked bread. Sad to hear that some branches of Greggs have actually stopped selling it recently.
– Friendly – personal service – unlike banks or supermarkets your local bakery has not adopted self service check outs so you can still talk to a human being. No unexpected items in your bagging area in the bakery.
– The following cakes originate from or were popular in and around Middlesex:-
Chelsea Buns – A type of bun supposedly created in the 18th century at the Bun House in Chelsea or at the Real Old Original Chelsea Bun House in London (which were rival establishments). Both bun houses were located on Grosvenor Row – which no longer exists and is roughly located in the middle section of Pimlico Road. The Old Chelsea Bun House was owned by a Captain Bun and had regular royal customers in the form of George II and his son George III (Mad King George) and his wife Queen Charlotte.
Hot Cross Buns – Originally baked by the Saxons to honor their goddess Eostre. This pagan version of the bun had the symbol of an ox horn on top, to represent the goddess. Christians then began baking the buns replacing the horn with the cross and creating the association with the festival of Easter. Hot Cross buns were also sold at the Old Chelsea Bun House and proved so popular that they had to stop selling them on Good Friday in 1793 due to the commotion and annoyance caused in the neighbourhood by to the large crowds mobbing the business. However, the shop appears to have started selling them again in and they still proved incredibly popular having shifted some 24,000 buns on Good Friday 1839.
Maids (of Honor) – served in the Court of King Henry VIII to a secret recipe – the Maid who invented these cakes was ordered to produce them regularly for the King and his royal household at Richmond Palace and still sold today at some bakeries in the area.
Tottenham Sponge – a sponge cake covered in pink icing or jam originally sold by the baker Henry Chalkley for the price of one old penny. The pink colouring is thought to be derived from mulberries.
Victoria Sponge – popularised during the reign of Queen Victoria and possibly served with afternoon tea at Buckingham Palace!
– No matter how crap life (or this blog post) may get there’s cakes will always to put a smile on your face and not break the bank.
What’s not to love – feed your face.