There is nothing more quintessentially British than arguing about scones.
The first disagreement is, of course, the pronunciation of this delectable delight.
Is it pronounced scone, or scone? Personally, I pronounce it as scone, but I know people who pronounce it as scone, and it only marginally impacts my fundamental respect for them as human beings.
But beyond that, and the argument that gets more heated than a piece of evil jewellery being cast into a volcano, is ‘Cream then jam?’ or ‘Jam then cream?’.
This is the type of argument that can tear a family asunder.
Imagine, you’re married to your amazing spouse for a decade before you both finally sit down for your first cream tea as a couple, and THEY DO IT WRONG!
Divorce, of course, is the only option.
Some of you may be reading this, and think “What’s a Cream Tea?”
Well firstly, BE GONE HEATHEN! But secondly, it is a traditional English dish of a Scone, cut in half, adorned with clotted cream and jam. It is to be enjoyed with a lovely cup of tea. You can have coffee with it, but you will be deported.
It’s also probably worth noting what English Jam is like. English Jam is to fruit, what lava is to stone. Technically it’s all made of the same stuff, but only one version will chase you down a hill and kill your family.
But Kristyn, which is correct‽
Well this, dear reader, is really the important question, isn’t it. We can’t go searching for our children’s step parents if it’s actually US who is in the wrong, can we‽
So, let’s look at the different schools of thought on this, before we prove which is the correct method.
The Geographical Divide:
In Cornwall, the ‘correct’ method is to go Jam and then Cream. In Devon, the ‘correct’ method is to go Cream then Jam.
There is a frankly astonishing amount of debate as to why each county does it the way that they do. Some state that it is to do with how it changes the flavour profile.
Some say that it is to do with nothing more than tradition.
Some even propose that it’s just because, British people REALLY like arguing with slightly differently British people about everything that we can possibly think to disagree about.
That last one, however, isn’t true; and those bastards from the East of England who say that it is, are just wrong.
The ACTUAL correct method:
There is, of course, a correct answer to this, and it is to do with Structural Integrity.
“But Kristyn, why does structural integrity matter‽” I hear you scream, like some kind of digital village idiot. And the truth of the matter is that, if I have to explain this to you, I may weep for humanity. Well, more than I already do.
The correct thing to go on first is ALWAYS whichever substance is thickest. If your jam is thicker than your cream, then your jam goes on first. If your cream is thicker than your jam, then take a good hard look at your life. What are you doing? Why are you like this? But still, the cream will go on first.
Viscosity is the master of scones!
Imagine sitting down for your dinner, and trying to spread mashed potato on top of your gravy!
That’s not how physics works, Karen!
“Well, you can just dollop it on top. You don’t *have* to spread it!” You also *can* drop your trousers and curl one out on the kitchen floor. But we’re not that uncouth.
So, how on earth does this relate to the fall of Rome?
Now that we have firmly established the importance of viscosity in the proper construction of a good scone (or is it scone?) we can take a brief trip back to the Roman Empire. Unfortunately our access to Magic School Buses is somewhat limited, so I’m afraid a hypothetical trip will have to do us.
Just as the integrity of a scone’s structure is vital, so was the structure of Roman society. And just as it is uncouth to improperly construct a cream tea, impoliteness too caused issues for the Emperors.
P1. Things without structural integrity fall.
P2. Stabbing people is rude.
P3. Julius Caesar got stabbed.
P4. Rome fell.
C1. Bad manners ruin structural integrity.
C2. If bad manners create bad structural integrity, then good manners create good structural integrity.
C3. If good manners create good structural integrity, then bad structural integrity implies bad manners
Maybe, just maybe, if the Romans were more polite, then their empire would exist to this very day. But alas, poor manners created an instability in their structure that led to their entire collapse.
And maybe, just maybe, if people were more concerned with the structural integrity of their scones, then they’d be nicer, more polite people, in general.
Probably not though, as this is a terribly fallacious approach. But it’s fun!
Autistic, queer, D&D devotee, pun peddler, meme dabbler, home-brew hero.
Downton Abbey Diogenes!