Word of the Week: 5th April 2021

The word for this week is ‘scone’! A scone is like a dense little cake and it’s an important part of a traditional English afternoon tea, which I will write more about later. Scones can be sweet or savoury. A classic scone is cut in in half and eaten it with cream and jam. Many people agree that they’re delicious, but there are plenty of scone-related things we argue about!

A delicious afternoon tea I had at The Randolph Hotel in Oxford- notice the scones in the middle tier. Photo taken by me.

Controversy 1: Pronunciation

Does scone rhyme with ‘gone’ or with ‘zone’? Nobody can agree! In truth this is a regional thing: in Scotland and the North of England people tend to rhyme scone with ‘gone’- and also in the South, to a lesser degree (I’m in this group). But in the Midlands people rhyme scone with ‘zone’. Here is an interesting map of this phenomenon!

Controversy 2: Cream or Jam first?

So you’ve cut into your scone and now you want to cover it in jam. No, wait, first the cream. Which should you do first? This again depends on where you are from, or which region you think is right. There are two counties in the southwest of England, Devon and Cornwall, which argue about the best way to put your jam and cream on. In Devon, they put the cream on first, and then the jam, but in Cornwall they do things the other way around; jam followed by cream.

I personally prefer the Devon way while Her Majesty the Queen puts her jam on first, but you’ll just have to try both methods and see what you prefer. If you can find some Cornish clotted cream to put on your scone, though, it will be delicious! This is a really thick cream- you can easily stand a spoon up in it. Yum!

Strawberry or raspberry jam is best on your scone. Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

Controversy 3: What Shape and Ingredients are Acceptable?

In the UK scones are usually round but in the US they also make a different type of scone that is triangular. A classic scone has very few ingredients: flour, butter, baking powder, sugar and milk. They’re a nice way to use up old milk, because you can still make scones with sour milk. I often see scones with sultanas or cheese in too, and I have eaten some very tasty lemon scones, as well as ginger scones. In Scotland you find traditional potato (‘tattie’) scones which often go with breakfast. Which of these types in the best? For me it’s the sultana or ginger scones, but again, you’ll have to try a few and see what you like!

Here are some nice scone recipes: plain 1 and 2 , tattie, treacle, with raisins (in Spanish).

Have you ever tried scones? Do you like them? What are your favourite desserts?

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