The great scone debate

The great scone debate

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

Food is a fantastic vehicle to bring people together. Celebrations around the world center around feasting, drinking and merriment. It’s a common love language and something we’ve all got to do. However, there can also be disagreements. Culinary debates have raged for eons seemingly without end. Home fries or hash browns? Thin crust or deep dish? Beans or no beans in chili? In the U.K., one of the great debates involves the beloved scone.

What’s a scone?

Scones originally came from Scotland and resembled the type of scones you find in Starbucks pastry windows in the U.S. When baking power was invented, the light, fluffy dough was developed into the biscuit-shaped goodness you see in the U.K. Scones are usually eaten as a light meal with a spot of piping hot tea.

The great debate

During the 11th century, after the baked good found its roots throughout the country, the notion of “cream tea” was invented in the southwest. Cream tea consists of a scone, clotted cream (a delicious creamy mixture resembling a cross between butter and whipped cream), jam and tea. The main issue? Two neighboring counties both lay claim to cream tea and both have differing opinions on the proper way to eat a scone.

In Devon, clotted cream is slathered on first followed by jam. In Cornwall, you’ll likely be the victim of serious side-eye and reprimand if you don’t put the jam on first and then a dollop of cream. Yes, this really is a serious culinary debate which has lasted for centuries. National polls have been conducted and even propaganda ads have run in different areas. In 2018, her majesty Queen Elizabeth II even weighed in with her preference of cream first, jam last.

Another slightly less-important debate is the pronunciation of “scone.” Most Americans (and a number of Brits) pronounce it “sc-own,” rhyming with grown. However, the proper way to say the name is “sc-on,” the latter part pronounced like “awn.”

In the end, there’s no hard and fast rule to which goes on first — jam or cream. The most important thing is to slather up the yummy treat with fresh clotted cream and fruit jam and enjoy every bite.

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