This week I have been thinking a lot about metaphors. Not just because of the general existential crisis that is 2020, but also because I’ve recently started training to become an English teacher. This means I have work to do, that my brain hurts and that I have been finding many varied ways to distract myself from getting on with things. Dog walking, catching up with friends, WhatsApp chats, housework, scheduling many important appointments and, of course, eating, have all featured heavily.
Baking is also a favourite tried and tested distraction (because it facilitates eating) and this week I decided to make scones. I am not very good at making scones. They always turn out too big, too small, too hard, too soft, too crumbly and generally, too disappointing. This is the main clue to anyone Scottish that I am indeed an imposter and an incomer to their society.
There are many stereotypes about the Scottish culinary repertoire that are mostly untrue, but I realised pretty quickly when I moved here over twenty years ago that any self respecting home maker, cafe proprietor, or daughter-in-law would be judged on two main criteria:
1. The ability to rustle up a good bowl of soup.
2. The availability, size and freshness of your scones.
Ideally, you should always have a pot of homemade soup on the stove ready to go and the means to rustle up a batch of scones to serve up to any passing visitor at short notice.
I have learnt to hold my own with the soup, but the scones often elude me. This week, however, I nailed it. Good size, well risen, crispy on the outside, moist on the inside. I even had some clotted cream to go with them, although this is not really the done thing for your average daily Scottish scone unless you’ve gone out for a fancy afternoon tea. Butter and jam is where it’s at.
If you go to a cafe and there are no scones to be had, or worse, they are not good scones, then you can expect scathing reviews. I have to agree with this. If I wanted a stale, dry, or overly cakey scone, I’d have made one myself thanks. Don’t even get me started on my disappointment in a crappy cheese scone. There is just no excuse.
Anyway, scones are my new metaphor for life: best enjoyed in the moment and proof that the simple things, done well, will always be the best.
Just wondering if I could legitimately make a lesson out of that…