Scones of the Past and Present

Sometimes I think I have more in common with my great great great great grandmother than I thought. I’ve been reading her journal from 1823 and it’s pretty much me at 18. Observing everyone.

How my mum got a hold of this journal is a long but incredible story and it is amazing to be able to read a family member’s personal thoughts. I wonder if all our blogs will be forwarded on to our future families in a 187 years?

This was one of her first entries.

Journal of Sarah Maria Barber beginning January, 1st, 1828

January 17th, Thursday

Went to a party at Mrs. Bacon’s, where there were about 60 people – dancing & music. Knew nobody but the Evans’s & the Brents, Br1ary is grown extremely pretty, and was very much admired, indeed she was by far the prettiest looking girl in the room Julia is also a very nice girl. I think country gentlemen’s daughters are in general, far more agreeable than the Londoners for not making accomplishments the first consideration.

Their minds are by that means more cultivated, as they have more time for study. I am always more interested at a ball by the remarks of an unaffected country girl than by the flippant conversation of an accomplished conceited Miss, who quizzes and abuses everything.

Mrs. Caradori was there She is a most unaffected, modest, charming woman, with just enough of the foreign accent to make her interesting. Mr. Allen is also a delightful man, and pays her the greatest attention possible.

He is justly proud of her, and sung a beautiful Italian duet with her but to the great disappointment of everybody she only sang 3 songs as the Piano was too flat.

Mrs. Bacon played very nicely on the harp and a young man sang two songs extremely well. There were very few pretty girls. Mary Brent & Mr. Bacon’s sisters were the only ones.

Danced once with John and twice with George Evans. Hugh danced with Mary Brent and not with me so that I have a great mind to be very angry with him, but then she is so pretty and amiable, that I think I must forgive him too. John and his wife went home early on account of the “little stranger” that is expected in March.

The supper was very handsome and at 9 o’clock we came home.

I would have liked to have a drink with my Grandmother and gossip as you’d do in the 1800’s. Do you have anyone from 187 years ago you’d like to meet?

Baking scones with mum in the 90's.
Baking scones with mum in the 90’s. Bangs looking great.

This recipe isn’t quite that old, but it’s been around in my family for about 36 years.

Scones. Now that I am a second class citizen thanks to Mr. Harper, I should perfect this recipe in case I have to go back to England. My Mum was given Fannie Farmer’s cookbook in 1979 as a wedding gift, it’s a huge book. She probably made these scones three times a week growing up. Throw in blueberries for best results.

Fannie Farmer’s Scones…

Your basic scone recipe

Minutes to Prepare: 15
Minutes to Cook: 10
Number of Servings: 8

2 C Flour (unbleached is best
2 Tbl Sugar
2.5 tsp Baking Powder (aluminum free is best)1tsp Salt (which I usually Omit1/4 C Butter (or Shortening) (I use unsalted1/2 C Milk (I use 2%)
1 large egg slightly beaten
2tbl mil
2tbl sugar
Makes 8 scones
  1. Preheat oven to 450F
  2. Combine dry ingredients with a fork to aerate. Cut in Butter/Fat with pastry blender or two knives until it looks like fresh bread crumbs.
  3. Stir in milk and egg until ingredients are just moist. Gather into a ball and knead lightly on a floured surface about 12 times (DO NOT OVERKNEAD) Pat or roll into a circle about 1/2 inch thick.
  4. Brush the top with milk and then sprinkle sugar on that.
  5. Cut into 8 pieces place on a cookie sheet about 1 inch apart bake about 10 minutes until lightly browned. Serve hot with butter, jam.

It’s probably most fitting to include a film about society in that day, it should be a Bronte film but I recently watched Vanity Fair, where Reese Witherspoon plays a strong female lead. It’s an enjoyable movie!

Memorable quote…

“Never mind. You cannot help your pedigree” – Becky Sharp (Reuse Witherspoon)

Also appropriate for the times… red wine (appropriate for all times really)

Wild Horse Canyon Shiraz is juicy and affordable and goes great with meat.

Aren’t we lucky we don’t have to find ways to cover up the taste of rancid meat like they did in the 1800’s because refrigeration was almost non existent?


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