Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Biscuit by Any Other Name...

A few weeks ago I read in a post on scones at the Down-to-Earth blog that: "what we call scones here and in the UK are called biscuits in the US." While scores of readers wrote in to request her recipe, reminisce about scones in general, and concur that using a wine glass makes the best cuts for scones, that little phrase stopped me in my tracks. Literally. Scones are biscuits?? I just couldn't get past that phrase because for years I have tried unsuccessfully to make scones. I had convinced myself that I just couldn't do it.

It wasn't for lack of effort, either. If you look at my recipe binder in which I have accumulated recipes since before married life [it was more a collection of meals or dishes that someday I would like to try since I really couldn't make much more than rice pudding and steamed broccoli before getting married] you will find 5 or 6 scone recipes culled from the NY Times, LA Times, and various gourmet-type magazines. I wanted scones more than anything. The names are so wonderful: "Tea-and-Talk Currant Scones"; Blueberry Scones; Buttermilk and Jam Scones; "Regent Beverly Wilshire Tea Scones." Doesn't that last one make you think of pillbox hats and white gloves?

Between that earth-shattering revelation about scones and biscuits (who knew?? even I can make biscuits) and another post on another blog for oatmeal scones (I am a sucker for oatmeal anything) I started reconsidering my prejudice about my scone-making potential. My dear husband, who freely admits I wasn't much of a cook in our early days together but loves my cooking now, convinced me that if I can make all the things I do now, scones should be... a piece of cake? Seems weird to mix metaphors, or baked goods, but really, how hard could they be if they're just biscuits?

So I set to work on the oatmeal scones and have made them twice since then, for breakfast, lunch, snack, whatever. They are so good! This morning I took the plunge and tried the recipe for Blueberry Scones which has resided in the cobwebs of my old recipe binder. Granted, the sight of frozen blueberries squirting out all over when I tried to press the two circles of dough together (the recipe quaintly directs one to "pat or lightly roll the dough out until the circle is about 12" across. Don't mush the berries." Go figure.) gave me pause, feeling again the momentary grip of that voice of old, "You can't make scones!" I pushed forward though, knowing that my son was starving (as much as a 9-year can be having been awake for all of 45 minutes) and that it was too late to turn back. In the end, they turned out pretty good for a first try. And all that blueberry juice made them look artsy in a Jackson Pollack sort of way.

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

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