It’s not that I cannot bake; I just do not like to. Barring cooked tuna and sardines in any way, shape or form, I eat everything. I am allergic to eggplant, but that has never really quite stopped me from eating it anyway. I do my best to ignore the varying intensities of itchiness in my throat brought about by different varieties of eggplant. However, I do not have what is commonly understood as “an evergreen sweet tooth”, with just one exception – but I will save that for another day. Besides, to me, cake batter tastes better before baking than after, so I find it hard to see the point in even putting it into the oven. If it were not for the strong resistance to pollutants, toxins and probably common food contaminating bacteria that one invariably develops when they have spent years and years in India, eating all kinds of yumminess from street-food stalls, oblivious to the rush hour traffic puffing out sooty smoke like small, scaled-down factory chimneys, I would probably have died of Salmonella poisoning or Shiga toxins by now. I once ate an entire cake’s worth of cake batter with my Bosnian roommate in Rhode Island while the preheated oven and the cake pan remained waiting in the kitchen.
To make matters worse, I don’t eat chocolate. It’s not a diet thing, or a discipline issue. Nor is it a saddening, debilitating allergic handicap. I just hate – detest, would be a more apt word – chocolate. I always have. It is an unforgivable sin for a foodie and I understand that I am hell-bound for it. But there it is. So, most desserts, so cherished by the all the world, utterly fail to seduce me. I do like a plain crème brûlée or a crème caramel, but not enough that I would inconvenience myself to make it often unless that was the only thing I was setting out to make. So why choose to bake scones without any warning? I have not eaten a scone in over 5 years. I do not sit and reminisce about them, about how unfulfilling my life is without them all around me.
But I grew up reading too much British fiction: Enid Blyton and P. G. Wodehouse. Could the Famous Five or the Secret Seven ever have had the determination and courage to pursue the motley of crooks that they did without their tummies being fuelled by scones and Devonshire cream made by a bona fide English cook? Or would tea time at Blandings Castle have ever been successful if there were no jellied scones to accompany the tea and sandwiches? Would Jeeves, the stiff upper-lipped butler, have permitted such a travesty to befall the table of Bertie Wooster? I have never, in person, been to the English countryside in the summer (or in the winter, for that matter). Nor have I had the pleasure of visiting London. Yet I have been to these places through these books. I have smelled Yorkshire pudding and Christmas plum cake through the pages of books. I would be decidedly shocked if someone were to try to convince me that a steak and kidney pie were not among the best ways to start one’s day – even though I have eaten one just once, and even then, not for breakfast. So also have I had scones and clotted cream at tea time, and a glass of port or sherry after dinner.
The original recipe was for ginger scones, but I did not find candied ginger either at the Asian supermarket nor at the regular supermarket so I substituted candied pineapple for the ginger instead adapting a recipe I found on the Epicurious website.