My mother was—there’s really no good way to say this and I hope none of my relatives are reading it—a terrible cook. It wasn’t her fault. She was a terrific baker, and her coffeecake was the stuff of all our carb dreams. But she came from a long tradition of Irish cooking. And let’s be clear: we’re not talking about the kind of cooking you find in Ireland today, the nouveau-posh-so-Irish-there’s-an-ethically-and-locally-sourced-organically-grown-ground-leprechaun-in-every-bite cafes with their beautiful handmade dishes and lots of plants.
No, she came from a solid tradition that looked with deep suspicion on foreign spices (anything that wasn’t salt or pepper). Eventually, and with great gourmet fanfare, she did introduce one ‘international’ dish to our dinner table—spagetti with meatballs, the sauce served already mixed up with the noodles.
My siblings and I later compared notes and agreed that while other people went to college and complained bitterly about the cafeteria, we were stunned by the goodness of dorm food. Cooked spinach wasn’t black? Fish didn’t come in little sticks with breading around them? Who knew?
This is all by way of explaining how, in my last post about castle life, I mentioned that I was such a total failure at scone making, and indeed most British/Scottish/Irish cooking. I know I’m cooking-impaired. I’ve watched the British Bakeoff and lusted after the perfect creations whipped up with their pastel Kitchenaids.
And that’s where you come in.
Some people took pity on me and offered to send their recipes, which gave me the idea of begging.
Could you send me your most foolproof recipe for scones? Victoria sponge? Your favorite pudding? [note: this means dessert in American. Not that crap Mr. Cosby used to plug—when he wasn’t sexually assaulting drugged women—which in England is known as ‘baby food’.] Or how about those Irish dishes? Even (sucks in breath) Scottish ones? How about those Welsh cakes? Soda bread? Yorkshire Pudding? (It can’t always come frozen, right?)
You can send them to my email (barbtaub at gmail dot com) or post in comments below. I’d particularly love it if you took a picture of your recipe, especially if it’s on one of those mucked up smudged little recipe cards or in some out-of-print old cookbook.
So SO many stomachs depend on you! Please: for me, for the honor of our country, for your chance to show off your expertise, and mostly for that most noble of human sentiments—pity. And to toast your generosity, I’ll post each of your recipes so everyone can answer the call of the scone.
Please take pity on me. Help me before I scone again.