Nobody knows the origin of scones. The only certain fact is that the first printing reference to them is from a Scottish poet from 1513. There are people that say that scones were named after the Stone of Destiny, where all Scottish kings have been crowned. Others think that scone refers to the Gaelic word sgonn (meaning a shapeless mass).
The birth place of this supernatural bakery good is so uncertain that we cannot even agree on how to say its name. Some people (mostly in Scotland and the North of England) pronounce scone as in gone; as opposed to scone as in tone (hello midlands and South England!).
I had never realised this until I heard a friend from Birmingham talking about her love for sultanas; a quite surreal conversation because I understood she wanted to eat a cone with sultanas and I had no idea of why someone would enjoy that! *polyglot life*
Scones are not only for afternoon tea, a social occasion invented not so long ago, in 1840. They existed more than 300 years before we even thought about putting them in the middle tier of an afternoon tea stand, carefully escorted by jam and cream (Cornish style) or cream and jam (Devon style) . But you can have plain scones with a bowl of soup or even on with a hot drink.
A story about cheese scones
A few years ago, I tasted the best cheese scones ever. They were made by a close English friend and I could not resist to ask her for the recipe. She laughed and told me that a neighbour from her village had given it to her and she was happy to let me have it too.
As soon as I had an occasion, I baked using her guidance and measurements and just like magic, amazing scones came out of my oven. My gratitude was so extraordinary that I wrote a thank you card and posted it to this lady that I had never met in my entire life. I wanted her to know that I had loved her recipe and I would treasure it forever.
Some weeks after my card went in the post, I had a response back. She had replied to my letter, with her beautiful handwriting. As I read her words, my heart was just about to explode. She took the time to give me some baking hints and tips and she wrote a fruit scone recipe too, so I could bake a sweet version for my afternoon tea parties.
Every time I bake scones I always remember her, even though it is a bit tricky, as we have never met. I usually picture a white haired lady, in a pink robe, writing a letter in an art deco desk, with flour still on her hands.
Sometimes I ruminate whether exchanging a recipe is a good enough excuse to invite her to have a cup of tea. Most of the times I just resolve that our very own Scone of Destiny is to bake together in the distance.
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