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They are considered the quintessential addition to a proper and fashionable afternoon tea: the humble scone.

Scones are first mentioned in a Scottish poem in 1513, but became fashionable, so the story goes, after Anna, Duchess of Bedford asked for tea and sweetbreads late in the afternoon. She liked them so much, she insisted on them every day thereafter, and they gained popularity in the uppercrust social circles.

For the uninitiated, scones are a biscuit-like pastry or a quickbread made with wheat, oats or barley. Fruits, spices, herbs, even vegetables can be added to create a wide variety of sweet or savoury flavours. Historical evidence shows that the tradition of eating bread with cream and jam existed in Tavistock Abbey in Devon, England, during the 11th century. Scones were originally baked on a griddle and served plain, but now they’re usually served with jam and clotted cream (I’ll take the lower class equivalent with whipped cream, thanks!).

Great debate has raged for centuries on 3 issues related to scones:

  1. how do you say “scone”;
  2. should butter be included; and,
  3. Finally, what comes first: the cream or the jam.

FIrst, pronounciation varies depending on where you live, but to quote the Queen, it’s skon (like long), not skone (like lone). Second, the general consensus is that butter may be included only when cream is not being served (and even then, some purists would disagree). FInally, if you want to take tea like the Queen, jam first, then cream…and the jam is strawberry!

Next week, I’m going to share some baking tips for the perfect scone!

Right now, I’m going to enjoy one of these homemade pumpkin scones with chai spices, while they’re still warm. Happy Monday!

Life is a kitchen! Put on your prettiest apron, and whip up something incredible!