Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Would you like some Splenda with your scones?
Several summers ago, when I was backpacking across Europe with friends, we were fortunate enough to experience "afternoon tea" at an upscale hotel in London. The United Kingdom was the first stop in what was to be a whirlwind tour of 10 different countries - all in the spirit of experiencing the world, celebrating our college graduation and doing "as the Romans do." And for the most part, we did. We befriended locals, watched the opera in an ancient amphitheater, saw the running of the bulls, went skydiving in the Alps and ate the local cuisine. It was fabulous. Sadly, our high tea adventure was one of the few times we fell prey to the Ugly American syndrome.
Only in London for two days before heading to Belgium, we were determined to make the most of our time there. After wandering from one end of town to the other, we passed by a fancy hotel late one afternoon and saw a sign advertising high tea. We marched straight in - wearing dusty cargo shorts, flip-flops and tank tops - and surprisingly got a table. Surrounding us were people in white gloves and dresses. However, despite our rag-tag appearance - and the cigarette lighter with a crude message one of my friends pulled out of her pocket - everyone was lovely to us.
Anyhoo, the moral of the story is, that afternoon tea fostered my love of dainty, crustless finger sandwiches, mini-pastries and, particularly, scones. Served with clotted cream and strawberry jam, the English quick bread just melted in my mouth.
For any other scone fans out there, check out a TasteTV video detailing how to bake candied ginger scones using Splenda.