Jamaican Bun and Cheese.

Bun, Cheese, and Hardo Bread

So, every Jamaican person knows what bun and cheese is: it is a cultural staple particularly significant on good Friday, when Christians aren’t supposed to eat meat. Bun looks like a loaf of bread but is sweeter and perhaps denser. Often bun has things like fruit, nuts, and raisins in it, so usually it is called Spice Bun, bun for short; however, bun can just be the actual dough without the fruit and nuts. The reason the post is called bun and cheese is because bun is often accompanied by Jamaican Cheese. But this post isn’t really about cultural knowledge. Really it is a story/argument from high school about bun.

When I was a junior in high school in the spring of 2012, I went out with my friends on Good Friday. Two of us were Jamaican; two of us were not. So my Jamaican friend Shannel brought Bun and Fish with her out on our excursion. I had never seen the two paired together, but it was quite delicious. When the Bun and Fish was offered to Brandon he asked what it was. So Shannel and I proceeded to explain as best we could. We said something along the lines of it looks like bread but it is not, it’s sweeter, and proceeded to explain the cultural significance to Good Friday as well. His response? “Oh so Bun is just Jamaican bread.” Shannel and I were like “Nooo!” But he insisted on it just being bread. When the last person arrived we continued our debate. She too was offered some bun, and she too arrived at the conclusion that bun is just Jamaican bread.

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I thought that the argument would end there, but it turns out that after Easter break, the French teacher was absent and all my other friends had French the same period. So our argument turned into an entire debate between everyone in that class. A lot of those people were in my physics class so the next day we continued this discussion about what bun is.

The non Jamaicans said that if it’s made from dough then it is bread. But my response was but cookies and cakes are distinct baked goods and they are made from batter, so just because bun may be doughy that does not automatically classify it as bread. Besides, if it was bread then why is it not called bread? We have Coco bread, Hardo Bread, and Bun. The first two are Jamaican Breads; however, the last is clearly not bread. It doesn’t even have the right color, even for wheat or pumpernickel bread. So having looked at a picture of Bun and read this story, is bun a distinct baked good or is it just glorified bread? Feel free to comment or discuss.



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