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Thursday, November 8, 2012

101

They Rhyme With "Stones"

American scones have been much maligned by Brits and by health nuts. Both groups decry them for their high sugar content, their dense texture, and their frequent inclusion of ingredients you might find in a kitchen-sink cookie. “Does anyone actually like American scones?” someone asked not long ago in, of all places, a Web forum devoted to gaming. The ensuing seven-page discussion quickly devolved into a cultural pissing contest between the Atlantic’s opposite shores. But no one bothered to challenge the original poster’s description of American scones as “dry bland ass triangles of nothing.”

Whoever started that discussion has obviously never been to Utah.

101 Comments / Post A Comment

meetapossum

British scones do not equal American biscuits, and I really hate that comparison.

melis

DIGESTIVE BISCUITS ARE FUCKING BULLSHIT

Jinxie

@melis YOU TAKE THAT BACK! Few things make a better afternoon pick-me-up than a cup of strong tea and some digestives with cheddar.

meetapossum

@melis Yeah, I can't get on board with you on that one, melis. I truly enjoy some caramel and chocolate McVities.

stonefruit

@meetapossum I was just logging in to mention those. Holy crap, they are insanely wonderful. They are basically just candy, right, in "healthy cookie" packaging.

melis

@stonefruit I unironically adore 95% of British food (PUT SOME FUCKING TIKKA MASALA ON MY STICKY TOFFEE BEANS ON TOAST I DON'T GIVE A SHIT) but I cannot get behind digestives. Dry, flimsy, chalky. Half-heartedly sweet, yet with a strangely bitter and ashy aftertaste.

melis

No, but eat them if they make you happy. More for you now! I'll just eat those weirdly amazing shrimp-flavored chips they sell at train stations.

Anna Jayne@twitter

@melis digestives are ok but Hobnobs are really where it's at

Jinxie

@Anna Jayne@twitter True. Hobnobs win both in taste AND name.

meetapossum

@melis Now I want to go to Myers of Keswick and get some Quavers.

ETA: They have Prawn Cocktail.

Anna Jayne@twitter

@meetapossum my old bodega randomly sold Hobnobs and it was the best! I gotta get my hands on some Jaffa Cakes though.

Kirsten Hey@facebook

@melis Shrimp-flavoured chips? Ahahahahahaha. Oh, that really has made me laugh so much. Not in a nasty way, it just really amused me to hear that description of prawn cocktail crisps.

melis

@Kirsten Hey@facebook But they are shrimp-flavored! That's an apt description! APT

Linette

@melis When I was in Australia I could not handle the idea of chicken-flavored chips and I asked my Aussie friend what they tasted like and she looked at me and went, "They taste like chicken."

I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS.

Jinxie

@Linette But that's the thing - they really do taste like chicken! It's uncanny. Delicious, but uncanny.

Linette

@Jinxie I was kind of afraid of them. But I did find out that Cadbury white chocolate is the best white chocolate I have ever bought at a gas station.

Ophelia

@meetapossum Ohhh, prawn cocktail-flavored crisps are just the weirdest, most wonderful things in the world.

Verity

@melis I hate digestive biscuits, but the addition of a thin layer of chocolate makes them perfect. Chocolate digestives for all!

zoe
zoe

@Verity @Melis seconding chocolate digestives (also chocolate hobnobs, with the infinitely more awesome name) and sadface defending childhood treats

purefog

Actually, they rhyme with "stuns."

iceberg

@purefog what no. where?

tootsky

@iceberg Well, no - they rhyme with "cons" or "johns" according to my English mother (don't get her started) and confirmed on the latest episode of Call the Midwife.

zoe
zoe

@tootsky Call the Midwife! <3

oh well never mind

@purefog I used to pronounce it to rhyme with "stone" when I was little but was teased at school so taught myself to rhyme it with "john". Sigh.

sunfastrose

I fully admit I love American scones. It may be wrong but I don't want to be right.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

My mom makes the best scones, but she's actually Canadian so maybe that has something to do with it.

yeah-elle

1. There is a breakfast place nearby called Sconehenge.

2. One of my jobs is at an ice cream parlor and non-English-speaking customers regularly ask for their scoops "on a scone" instead of "on a cone."

Jinxie

@yeah-elle That sounds kind of awesome, actually. Ice cream scone-wich!

frigwiggin

The Starbucks-type scones are gross, but I like making scones at home! I grew up making Sticky Fingers scones for breakfast on weekends, and you can't take that away from me.

aphrabean

Rose Levy Berenbaum has a very flaky delicious scone recipe made of butter and cream that I make once or twice a year because: butter and cream. But they are amazing: so flaky and buttery and rich. I like to put some crystallized ginger in there, or some lemon peel.

SarahDances

@aphrabean This is my favorite scone recipe. And I also love them with candied ginger! I would make some right now, except I am incapable of keeping candied ginger in the house, because I will eat it all like candy.

aphrabean

@SarahDances Oh, those look amazing! I will say, though, that RLB's are a little flakier looking - almost like actual biscuits but also not. She does that thing where you fold it like a letter, roll it out, fold it like a letter, roll it out, and fold it like a letter one more time before cutting the dough upm and they separate into these gorgeous golden flakes.

And candied ginger is the best! Have you ever made your own? It's pretty easy, and you end up with a lovely ginger syrup that's good for cocktails! I had to stop making it for your aforementioned reasons.

sarah girl

The wee vanilla scones at Starbucks are so good, though!

oboe-d-amore

...I have not experienced a *huge* difference between American and British scones? Is that sacrilege to say? I mean, British scones are a little bit more biscuit-y than American scones, but they're still recognizable.

Jinxie

@oboe-d-amore American "scones" are sickly sweet and often flavored with additives unbecoming to a proper scone (Looking at you, dried blueberry nuggets!) and the texture is all wrong: somehow both dry AND stodgy. And they're often ICED which is just...ugh. I have no words for how wrong it is to put a icing on top of a scone.

SarahP

@Jinxie Huh. The only scone I ever had when I lived in the UK was sweeter than my (American) mother's recipe and filled with raisins.

Hot Doom

@Jinxie Nope. DISAGREE.

oboe-d-amore

@Jinxie Maybe I've just had unusually accurate American scones then!

TheBourneApproximation

@Jinxie Not every American scone sucks. I think the main basis of active comparison here is Starbucks scones, which manage to ring every "bad pastry" bell there is (too much sugar! too dry! they put *what* in there?? etc. etc.).

Verity

@Jinxie Iced? What is this nonsense?

(Best thing ever: cheese scones. Sickly-sweet scones sound like an abomination.)

zoe
zoe

@Jinxie yes, that is not a scone :( I mean, it sounds totally fine as some kind of other thing, but not a scone...

people, the thing is, (loud whisper) A SCONE IS MOSTLY A VEHICLE FOR JAM AND CREAM. so it should be plain, or possibly with a tiniest smattering of tiniest dried fruit. maybe a pumpkin scone once in a while.

also: champagne scones. just sayin.

Melusina

@Jinxie I have never heard of an iced scone in America. Where are you getting those awful things? In my experience, American scones are no sweeter, and often less sweet than British ones. I suppose I'm mainly thinking of homemade scones, but even the King Arthur Flour mix ones are pretty good. But I haven't lived in America for 10 years, so maybe all of the scones have gone downhill.

oboe-d-amore

@zoe Champagne scones? That I MUST investigate!

oh well never mind

@Verity M&S cheese scones! So good. I tried to make cheese scones myself once but thought the recipe didn't sound cheesy enough so roughly doubled the quantity. They practically fried rather than baking but were mighty tasty.

Verity

@moosette I had an M&S cheese scone the other day, and it was excellent. I like making them myself, too - and yes, extra cheese is always a must. Yours sound great.

Jinxie

@Melusina Cheap bakeries and cafes, I guess. Ma Jinx is Irish and a great baker, so I was exposed to "proper" scones growing up and the American-style ones I saw really stood out for me.

Erin Lucille

But the recipe for British scones looks just like an American biscuit. I'm not saying the super-butter southern-style, but a drop biscuit. And I'm not saying "biscuit" in the British "cookie" way. I mean OUR definition of biscuit.

fondue with cheddar

I like the scones at Panera even though they tend to have too much baking powder, but I don't have anything to compare them to because they're honestly the only scones I've ever had.

Danzig!

Moral of this story: Never discuss culture on a gaming forum

wee_ramekin

@Danzig! Hahaha, I know. I love that this was a pressing enough issue for some Dude to take time away from calibrating his THAC0 score or whatever. Like, fuck cheat codes, let's discuss American scones.

sunfastrose

@wee_ramekin But the thread is pretty darn awesome.

TheBourneApproximation

@Danzig! "Extra! Extra! Discussion on videogame forum turns into cultural pissing contest!"

iceberg

They rhyme with cons, and i will FIGHT anyone who says different. I feel like American scones are like my understanding of American culture pre-moving here - based on visuals rather than experience.

SarahP

@iceberg Then why is there an E on the end? Why is there an E?

wee_ramekin

@iceberg Wait, where are you from originally, iceburg o' my heart?

iceberg

@wee_ramekin Australia, aka Prison Island.

Kirsten Hey@facebook

@SarahP An E on the end like in gone you mean? ;-)

iceberg

@SarahP don't question the english language! just because it's riddled with ridiculous inconsistencies.

Jane Marie

@iceberg where is the person from that said they rhyme with "stuns?" WE CAN'T ALL BE CORRECT.

iceberg

@Jane Marie I puzzled an American friend I was internet-chatting with by laughing about how "sauce" and "boss" don't rhyme in my accent - he literally could not figure out how I was saying the words.

wee_ramekin

@iceberg .....I can't either. :-/

Jane Marie

@iceberg do tell!

iceberg

@wee_ramekin sawssss (a long A like awwwww), boss with a short O like in POP. and not americn pop which is like pahp. imagine Dr Who saying pop.

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

My mouth refuses to pronounce scone the American way, it actually feels somehow more pretentious, like I'm playing a pepper-pot in a Python sketch. So I just stand there and say "A scone... no, scone... look, one of those things!"

Possibly related: I also pronounce scallop the correct and only way, even though nobody west of the Taconics understands me (I have never lived east of the Taconics).

Hot Doom

@iceberg I just. I mean. Ok, so I am married to a british guy and his name has the short 'o' like in 'pop', but i pronounce it like an American and make a broader 'ah' sound and when his friends hear me say his name they break into a fit of giggles. Also, I can't say the word 'yoghurt' either apparently- My American 'Yoh-gert' sounds nothing like the british 'YOG-ert'. OH WELL.

* ETA Ok, the name is Bob. IT'S A DIFFICULT NAME TO PRONOUNCE APPARENTLY

martinipie

@Jane Marie At least in London accent it is definitely "cons." Could see it rhyming with "stuns" from somewhere further up North maybe? (English accents, they are many and wondrous!)

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

@martinipie True story: the town of Scunthorpe is Old English for "scone" + "þorp" which means "scone village" where they were invented in 1028 (as mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086).

It was only after The Great Vowel Shift that "scun" became "scone" (in RP). However the old pronunciation is retained there out of pride. This is widely accepted as the only thing residents of Scunthorpe are able to be proud of.

tootsky

@Jane Marie oops I just replied to the "stuns" person because I didn't get this far. Maybe he/she was a Scunthorpian.

MmeLibrarian

Last year, I visited England for the first time. At the Tate Modern cafe, my husband and I had a pot of tea and a currant scone with clotted cream and jam that I will remember for the rest of my life. When I am 80 and listing the best things I have ever eaten, I will mention that scone and that pot of tea.

gobblegirl

@MmeLibrarian Isn't it strange how art galleries and museums often have the BEST food? The National Gallery in Ottawa has the most amazing cafe - quiche that will blow your mind.

MmeLibrarian

@gobblegirl It also helped that I was hungry, tired, and had been looking at incredible art all afternoon. It was also the only day (!) that it rained while we were in London and I had a bag with recently-purchased local yarn in it. Perfect perfect perfect.

OhMyGoshYouGuys

@MmeLibrarian Scones will always taste better when eaten in England.

Amphora

@OhMyGoshYouGuys With clotted creeeeeam oh god yum! Every Christmas my family goes for high tea at the Drake Hotel and I eat ALL the clotted cream.

TheBourneApproximation

@MmeLibrarian I think I had a very similar experience at the British Library. Oh god I want some right now.

gobblegirl

Regional variations, people! Chill.

SarahP

@gobblegirl I love you.

TheBourneApproximation

@gobblegirl Oh god it's tearing us apart too!

SarahP

Ugh now I'm annoyed that I have plans after work and can't go home to make scones IMMEDIATELY.

SarahP

YOU GUYS. The Wikipedia entry about scones is so serious! It actually contains the following line:

"Scones sold commercially are usually round, although some brands are hexagonal as this shape may be tessellated for space efficiency."

TESSELLATED

SarahP

FOR SPACE EFFICIENCY

Ophelia

@SarahP I hope they mean "space" like, "the final frontier," not like, "on a shipping pallet," but I fear it's the latter. Tessellation makes me think of Tesseract.

Kirsten Hey@facebook

1. To make about 10 scones, begin by sifting 8 oz (225 g) of self-raising flour and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl. Add 3 oz (75 g) of butter, cut into small lumps. This must be at room temperature – if it is too cold, it will be difficult to rub in. Lightly rub the butter into the flour until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.

2. Add 1½ oz (40 g) of golden caster sugar and mix in.

3. In a jug, beat one large egg together with 2 tablespoons of buttermilk and start to add it to the rubbed-in mixture.

4. Mix in with a palette knife.

5. When it begins to come together, finish off with your hands – it should be soft but not sticky (if the dough seems too dry, add a little more buttermilk, a teaspoon at a time).

6. The dough should come together and leave the sides of the bowl clean.

7. Shape the dough into a round with your hands and place it on a lightly floured surface. Flour the rolling pin and lightly roll out the dough.

8. Take great care not to roll the dough any thinner than 1 inch (2.5 cm) – this is the secret of well-risen scones. Measure it if you're not sure!

9. Use a 2 inch (5 cm) round cutter to cut out the scones – place the cutter on the dough and give it a sharp tap – don't twist it, just lift it up and push the dough out. Carry on until you are left with the trimmings, then bring these together to roll out again until you can cut out the last scone.

10. Place the scones on a lightly greased baking tray that has been dusted with flour. Brush them lightly with a little more buttermilk then dust with flour. Bake in a hot oven – gas mark 7, 425°C (220°C) – for 10-12 minutes, or until they are well risen and golden brown, then remove them to a wire rack to cool.

11. Scones should have a light, open texture and are best eaten very slightly warm. Don't forget that they do not keep very well so, in the unlikely event of there being any left, pop them in the freezer.

Amphora

@Kirsten Hey@facebook So...you're not supposed to just dump some milk in some mix you bought at Marshalls for $2.99?

Kirsten Hey@facebook

@Amphora I can never to be arsed to buy buttermilk because what am I supposed to do with the rest of it? So I use normal milk or soya milk.

oboe-d-amore

@Kirsten Hey@facebook You can make buttermilk easily in very small quantities by adding vinegar or lemon juice to milk! I'm sure you already know that, since you are making scones from scratch, but just in case. :-)

Lisa Frank

Why are British people always decrying American cheddar? Yes, if you buy the plastic-y stuff at the supermarket it's gross. But there's aged cheddar that I would put up against anything across the pond.

SarahP

@Lisa Frank Maybe they think all we have is Velveeta.

OhMarie

@Lisa Frank Yeah! Vermont, guys!

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

They make some good Velveeta in Vermont

cuminafterall

Best American Scone: lemon poppyseed scone from the Scone Pony, the #1 best-named bakery on the Jersey Shore.

Best British Scone: Uncle Les's scones, made with real Scottish butter by a real Scotsman and served with homemade clotted cream, which apparently takes up to 2 days to make.

Hot Doom

@cuminafterall WHERE IS THIS SCOTTISH MAN?

victorian rose

'Pinners, I want to let you all know that Fresh and Easy has a wonderous concoction called "Granola Scone" in their bakery section. It has almonds, and orange peel, and sunflower seeds, and raisins and is basically like panettone but in scone form. The best part is that it's only $1, and the even better part is there is a Fresh and Easy within 5 minutes walk of my office.

HMSBeagle

SCONES. I'm so happy that I'm taking off tomorrow! It's gonna be a scone-filled morning. Since they don't keep well, that's pretty much an invitation to eat them all.

Ophelia

I want to move back to Dublin simply so I can get scones again from the weird little lunch cart in the arts building at Trinity. I have no idea how they made those scones so un-freakin-believably good, but I STILL dream of them, 11 years and 3,000 miles away.

Or rock buns! Can we talk about rock buns??

temporal_paradox

@Ophelia Tell me about rock buns! I've never had one, but I've read about them in many a book.

Ophelia

@temporal_paradox They have sort of like scone or (American) drop biscuit dough, but they're not rolled out, so they look kind of lumpy. The ones I've had have had fruit added in (raisins, and the taste of orange peel?). They're a little salty-sweet, and the ones I had in Ireland had a little bit of granulated sugar on top.

I have no basis for comparison, though, so I don't know if those were "proper" rock buns or not.

raised amongst catalogs

I get really particular about which butter I'll use in my scones. For everything else I am fine with Land O'Lakes or whatever, but for scones it is Kerrygold ONLY.

EpWs

Can I submit that scones, like biscuits (American meaning for both terms) are absolutely the shiz when they're fresh out of the oven but then they go downhill pretty quickly after that? Can we agree?

dontannoyme

Firstly it's scone, rhymes with john. Unless you are talking about the Stone of Scone in which case it rhymes with spoon. But you would never be talking about that because it's too boring. Secondly, the scones you get in Starbucks (which I think is what you mean by American scones - ie triangular and big) are no good because they don't come with clotted cream and jam. A scone is an inherently vehicular thing. It is a lovely vessel for cream and jam. On their own they are a bit ordinary. With cream and jam they are possibly the best foodstuff in the world. Also they are horrible in Starbucks because Starbucks don't pay tax in the UK and just hollow out our high streets without paying their dues and that's not on. Hope that clears up the British perspective on scones.

karencarrot

The American scone recipes cited in this little blurb sound like they'd taste pretty similar to the ones I make... i.e., awesome! I mix mine up in the kitchenaid, but oh so gently and minimally that they come out of the oven ready to melt in your mouth. I stole the recipe from a fine-dining place where I was the pastry cook for a while. I usually make mine with dried currants and lemon zest. I've also made the recipe with great success mixing in chives and cheese too. I've never had a scone made from a British recipe!

The Starbucks ones do suck, like SO BAD. Huge, super-dense and dry as can be. Not even in the same category. The scones made at my work always suck that bad too, all the food is vegan there but that can't be the only reason why!

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