19 August 2015

Scones, Skhones and Skons - The Great Tea Controversy

If you ever want to open up an argument discussion with a bunch of pinkie raisers/bloggers/strangers, all you need to mention is one baked good; scones. Quite humble in appearance, these pillows of baked delight cause a level of debate normally reserved for Nuclear Power sources, the truth of Football injuries, EU legislation regarding curves of bananas and whose turn it is to take out the bin on rubbish day.

They call to us from domed cake stands perched on counters, tease us from doily-lined tins and prove simply irresistable at 2pm on a Sunday afternoon with a freshly brewed pot of tea. Who would think that families would be torn apart and friendships strained over 3inch round(ish) dough with a golden crisp exterior and fluffy interior.

Exhibit A: Pronounciation

Say it with me; Sk-hone. Skon. Let it roll around your vocal cords, thrum through your voice box and exhale. Are you a barbarian like 2me, or a cut-glass pinkie raiser? As a New Zealander down to my hobbit-toes, there are hundreds of words that have morphed over the time spent in the fair Isles of England, but I will remain true to my countrymen and always order a 'skon' when Cream Teas are on the menu. When in Rome and all that...

I asked the maid in dulcet tone, to order me a buttered scone;
The silly girl has been and gone, and ordered me a buttered scone.

On second thought, does it even matter as long as they're all brought out fresh from the oven? (In the meantime humour me & feel free to complete my entirely pointless poll, created for sheer idle amusement...)

Scones the great Afternoon Tea Controversy

 Exhibit B: Jammin' 'n Creaming

Often used as a test (the reports of this to single out spies during the World Wars are unconfirmed) to see which part of the country Brits originate from (both literally or in spirit). If cream topped with jam is your (ahem, wrong) strategy, Devon is your spiritual home. If the jam then cream method is your (much more logical) tactic, consider yourself Cornwall-ian. Personally, after strenous and exhaustive testing, sometimes with both in the same place, I prefer my bites to feature clouds of clotted cream with a surprise finish of jam. Strawberry ideally, blackcurrant or lemon curd if it's a whimsical day.

Oh, and those people pleasers who aim for both on the same scone? Props to you for sheer effort.

Scones the great Afternoon Tea Controversy
Warm, soft date scones always have me reminiscing about Childhood mischief

Mini-case: Clotted Cream vs. Fresh Cream v.s Butter - Personally, I'm firmly in the clotted cream camp, having converted early in my expat years...

Exhibit C: Savoury or Sweet, Flavoured or Plain

Now this is where we get a little more controversial and a touch more modern... traditionally scones recipes seem to be pretty non-commital regarding the sweet/savoury debate but over the years convention seems to have started dictating a sweeter disposition perfect for conveying fruity flavour.

Scones the great Afternoon Tea Controversy
Savoury AND gluten free scones in the beautiful city of Bath that we discovered on a roadtrip...
Personally, I say bring on the savoury scones. Herbs, cheese, all the flavours and then some. I do however draw the line at tea flavoured or lavender scones as they just seem a little off-key for some weird reason.

Scones the great Afternoon Tea Controversy
Cheddar, caramelised onion and turmeric scones, filled with curry goat leaf curd no less.

So, there we have it, 3 subjects with which to torment table companions with occasionally - just remember a pot of tea is absolutely obligatory as you expound on your favourites.


Scones the great Afternoon Tea Controversy
Spring sunshine and scones at Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham. Almost unbeatable.

But wait, then we have the American chapter bringing scones (aka biscuits - we discovered them in Florida) to the breakfast table, swimming with grits, gravy and lashings of sausages. What ever will they think of next?

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