English Scone History

Does the idea of the Brexit have you stone cold? No need to worry and be scone cold. Gather you wits about you and have a scone and a cup of tea.

Britain voted out of the EU which means who knows what. Many people are in shock about the decision as I, but we simply have to wait and see what happens. Brexit. Regregexit. What’s nexit? Many will go about as usual. Many people will simply have a scone and cup of tea which sounds like a brilliant idea!

English scones, jam, and clotted cream
English scones, jam, and clotted cream

What exactly are scones?

Scones are a Scottish quick bread which apparently got its name from the Stone of Destiny (or Scone), the place where Scottish kings were once crowned. Scones were originally made with oats and baked on a griddle (girdle, in Scots), but today’s version is made with flour and oven-baked.

The word “scone” according to the Oxford dictionary comes from Middle Dutch schoon(broot) which means beautiful bread. If you’ve ever had a bad scone it is not even close to beautiful, just hard, stone hard if not baked correctly or eaten while fresh.

A tab bit of scone history

Anna, the Duchess of Bedford (1788–1861) is credited with making scones a fashionable ritual. One late afternoon she ordered the servants to bring some tea and sweet bread including scones. It tickled her fancy so much that she ordered it every afternoon and the daily event became an English tradition known as “Afternoon Tea Time” (precisely at 4:00 p.m.).

Constructing a Scone

Cream before jam or jam before cream? There’s much debate about which goes first, a dispute which apparently divides Cornwall and Devon. The code of behavior according to some etiquette experts is to spread jam on your scone before adding a dollop of cream on top, so when in Cornwall does as the Cornish.

In Cornwall it’s jam first, then cream and in Devon they prefer cream first, then jam.  If you are using a thick cream which won’t easily slip off the jam surface, the Cornish method may work best for you. I’m going to try both methods and if I’ve upset any cream tea experts I wholeheartedly apologize to you in advance.

Update: I prefer the Cornish method of spreading jam and then cream!

Gotta for now, it’s almost tea time. Cheerio my friends and check out my scone recipe coming soon.

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