Sunday, April 15, 2018

Scone History, Etiquette and More

Freshly baked blueberry scones sit properly on their lofty perch, the top of the 3–tiered tea stand, as biscuits or scones are traditionally eaten first at tea time. The etiquette for tiered tea stands is simple. The order of items eaten is from the top tier to the bottom tier, with the bottom tier’s treats eaten last.  – “There are all manner of variations: afternoon-tea scones, cheese scones, herb scones and spice scones, to name a few. Try the Scottish Cream Scones with the addition of your favorite herb or spice and create your own royal version.”


There is a village in Perthshire, in central Scotland west of the modern village of New Scone, called, simply, Old Scone. It was the seat of Scottish Kings and Parliaments until the 15th century and it was here with the Coronation Stone the Scottish Stone of Destiny, called The Scone that the Kings of Scotland from Kenneth I to Charles II were crowned. A most Royal beginning for this humble breakfast and tea-time treat. The root of the word scone is probably Dutch, Schoonbrot or Schoonbrood, which means fine bread.

Although scones have a reputation for being dry, when they are made correctly, with the proper ingredients, they are, oh, so fine. Scones are a plain, homey mixture and should have a low fat content, a lot of baking powder to give them an open, light texture and a high proportion of liquid to ensure a soft, elastic dough. They should be mixed just until large lumps form, are gently gathered, pressed together and then lightly kneaded with the finger tips for a few minutes to develop some elasticity. Lovingly shaped into inch-thick rounds, they are placed on a baking sheet and cut into four quarters that are left in place or, sometimes, separated slightly. They may be brushed with a milk or egg wash to insure some browning, but traditionally they are simply dusted with flour. There are all manner of variations: afternoon-tea scones, cheese scones, herb scones and spice scones, to name a few. Try the Scottish Cream Scones with the addition of your favorite herb or spice and create your own royal version. 

Muffins in the British Isles are, of course, English Muffins. So popular, they were once sold on the streets of London by the Muffin Man with his tray and bell. English muffins should always be pulled apart never cut! You may use a fork for the operation or there are special pronged instruments available for this delicate maneuver that is imperative if you want to experience the crunchy, toasty hills and valleys so necessary to contain gobs of fresh butter and jam. –Santa Cruz Sentinel 1990

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia