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Opinion: Scones are God’s gift to America — from Scotland

Apple Scone from the Knowlton Cafe. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for Design

It is a tough world out there for a pastry.

The competition is always stiff. One pastry is always trying to attract more patrons to its light breaded shell than its other fluffy companions.

But there has always been one pastry that stands above the rest. A glorious triangle with flavor stuffed in every angle.

A scone.

To truly understand what makes the scone so great, one must understand how it came to be.

Though it’s originally from Scotland, the scone was popularized in England. Its form has changed over the years, but its purpose has long remained the same.

Anna Duchess of Bedford, a long-time friend of Queen Victoria in the 1800s, requested a cup of tea late in the afternoon during a meeting with John Henry Manners, the Fifth Duke of Rutland, in the 1840s because she did not want to wait for dinner. Most people view that day as the invention of “afternoon tea.” What those people are overlooking is the delectable pastry that accompanied her tea in the scene: a scone.

Thus to this day, the Duchess of Bedford is viewed as one of the single most influential people in the U.K.’s history.

It is clear why the scone was the pastry of choice to accompany such an iconic meal.

The Google definition of a scone is, “A small unsweetened or lightly sweetened biscuit-like cake made from flour, fat, and milk and sometimes having added fruit.” To be honest, that is underselling the scone.

This delightful breakfast pastry is typically somewhat dry both outside and inside. The shell of the scone provides a nice, flavorful crunch to it while the inside is a soft bread that might be mixed with various berries, fruits, chocolates or other assorted stuffings to add to the chewing experience.

To say that it is dry might come off as a negative. When people think of eating a cake, the idea is typically to have one that provides a moist, soft bite to the palate. But the dryness of the scone allows for the flavor to shine all the way through rather than relying on the texture to have the lasting impact on the taste buds.

Besides, who would even consider having breakfast without coffee, orange juice or tea?

Unlike a lot of other pastries like a doughnut or a muffin that would be quite bland and certainly not glorious when dry, or others like a danish or croissant that are less appealing when not heated, the scone can be eaten in nearly any condition.

Go to any cafe and request a scone, and the customer will be handed the treat just as it appears on the shelf and find that it is as delicious as if it were just made. That is not to say that a scone would not be delicious fresh out of the oven. But a scone in any form is a delicious treat.

It seems illogical to not like a scone. It’s undoubtedly the best pastry available, is handheld, is very easy to take on the go and can be consumed at any point during the day. Breakfast? What a great way to start the morning. Brunch? A true staple of the mid-morning meal. Lunch? Why not. Mid-afternoon snack? Just ask the Duchess and she’ll tell you you’re making a great decision. Dinner? Hey, no one’s going to judge that at all. Dessert? Phenomenal.

It can be a tough world out there for a pastry.

But scones always find a way to stand above the rest.

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