As a child, celebrating Easter in Jamaica was one of the best experiences. With church activities and social gatherings, it was something to look forward to. The kids in the community couldn’t wait for that time of year to come. They looked forward to Easter, mainly because of the Bun and Cheese.
In the country, one of the best things about Easter was eating Easter Bun and cheese. Nothing else mattered. Of course you had to remember Christ dying on the cross for your sins, but Easter just would not be Easter without bun and cheese. The Easter bun was not bought in a store. It was specially made at Maas Erville’s bakery, for the entire community. This bakery was not a fancy building, but a large outdoor area with an oven made of wood and mud, that his sons helped him make.
Maas Erville Easter buns were different shapes and sizes. Some were round and small, some were oval and long, and some were large with a very intricate lattice pattern. I’m not sure why, but I liked looking at those with the lattice pattern. The top of each bun was coated with a shiny glaze that made them even more inviting. I don’t know how Maas Erville made the batter for the buns or how long they baked in the oven, but I do know how they smelled and tasted. The buns when being baked had an aroma that fumigated the entire community and heightened your sense of smell and taste. My mouth water as I anticipated the taste. The smell was so intense, people hurried to Maas Erville’s yard to order as many buns as possible for their Easter feast. Sometimes the elders of the community, the grandparents, would send the children to the yard for one of Maas Erville’s buns, but as greedy children we would all try and take a piece of the bun and shape it back together before we brought it back to them and blame any distortion in the bun on their memory lapse.
When my grandparents were ready to make their purchase, they would send my sister and I down to Mass Erville’s yard to buy our Easter buns. We would get our canvas bag; wrap the money for the buns in a handkerchief, and walk for about three miles down the narrow dirt road greeting everyone we saw along the way. If we saw Vinne (Cat) along the way, he would always say “What’s happening Blue eyes?’ to me. It was his way of saying hello to me and it would make us all smile. But no time to waste on idle talk, the buns were the focus of this trip.
Maas. Erville was good at making sure that he made enough buns so that everyone in the community would have enough to help make their Easter special. No one ever complained that they had no bun for his or her household and no one ever complained about the taste or size of the buns. They were always made just right.
We got to Maas Erville’s yard, bought our buns, and hurriedly walked the three miles back up the hill with all buns in tack. This time my grandparents didn’t have to worry about us eating any of the buns along the way. My sister and I decided that we would not engage in any such activities on this trip, because that would mean us jeopardizing any chance on Easter of getting any bun and any other treats Jesus told our grandmother to surprise us with. We made one important stop along the way and that was to purchase cheese at our cousin’s shop. With bun and cheese that would be consumed over the Easter season in our possession, we were content and hurried home.
Because of these kinds of experiences, Easter has become a memorable time of year at home or abroad and no bun in the world has ever satisfied my tastebuds as those buns made at Maas Erville’s bakery.