Of course you know what a scone is. Or do you? It was George Bernard Shaw, I think, who said "England and America are two countries separated by a common language". Well, he said it. I didn't. But, I have to say something for the number of times I've been asked why the "scones" at certain fried chicken joints were presented on the menu as "biscuits"?, and for the fact that I've eaten and love both.
Now just what would someone who's neither British nor American know about biscuits or scones? Well, the British were here and their administration, culture and culinary leanings and prejudices trickled down into and indelibly marked our consciousness, before they eventually made their departure.
As a result we spell "colour", "humour" and "glamour", as we do. We love tea as much as coffee and the notion of afternoon or high tea is not as alien as it might be to, say, an American. In fact, a clipped British accent over here would scarcely raise any eyebrows while the same person with an American accent would promptly invite questions like "how long were you living in the States?"
So are British scones and American biscuits the same thing? They're very similar, though American biscuits tend to be neutral flavoured or savoury, while British scones are usually on the sweet side and commonly studded with dried fruit. American biscuits are traditionally served with gravy and fried chicken or with bacon and eggs for breakfast and scones are most often taken with tea in Britain, and in many of its former overseas territories.
The basic ingredients for both are pretty much the same; flour, fat, raising agent, salt, sometimes sugar, and a liquid to bind, as is the basic preparation method. The real difference between them may be more terminology than anything else, when you consider the other ongoing debates about muffins and cupcakes, crumpets and English muffins, cookies and biscuits, butties and hoagies and on and on and on.
I may know more about scones then I do about American biscuits but I harbour (oops, there it is again!) a secret; a deep, as yet unsated longing for that most coveted of dinner sides - the Red Lobster cheddar biscuit. If someone could just tell me how to get my hot little hands on one, without taking a plane *sigh*
Tags: biscuits scones sides british american "traditional baking" red lobster