Image credit: Caroline Makes

In our Burgh Collection book Happy Days, visitors recalled the special treats they had eaten when on holiday past in Anstruther and Cellardyke. Isn’t it strange the way we often remember the food we had so long ago – especially when we were in that magical world of being on holiday?

Summer visitors talked about a cake called a Japs Fancy (above). It was an old recipe and is even to be found in Mrs Beeton’s cookbook. To be correct, it seems not to have been a true ‘cake’, or had any known connection with Japan. However, it was the shortened name for Japonaise cake and was made up from layers of meringue with a cream filling and rolled in roasted nuts, often crushed almonds, to form a squat tower shape. Although some contributors to the Happy Days book remember the cakes being covered in coconut.  It was usually topped with a chocolate button or blob of icing. Whatever the detail, its taste followed visitors down the years as a happy memory.

Another childhood memory from those long-ago holidays to the area were Sair Heids (below). These cakes are sponges topped with a thick layer of icing and wrapped in a paper bandage. They are still a firm favourite and can still be bought locally today.

Sair-Heids from G.H. Barnett

As an early form of ‘take away’, it was common for bakers to cook items for their customers, and people on holiday. One visitor remembers,

“On Sundays we walked to church at Kilrenny and afterwards I was despatched to McLeod the bakers in George Street to collect a steak pie for lunch, ready cooked and very hot to carry. It was in our pie dish, plus steak we bought from the butcher in John Street. The steak was then delivered, by us to the bakers the day before they made the pie”
Happy Days, p50

View of colourful street at night with the moon shining through dramatic clouds above

Lots more can be found about visitors’ and locals’ recollections about tourism from the 1950s onwards in our publication Happy Days: Summer Holiday Memories of Anstruther and Cellardyke.