My mother has a bit of a reputation about the village. No doubt still considered a blow-in by those who were born to the place, she’s actively involved in all sorts. And of the many words used to describe her, active is high on the list. I don’t know where she gets her energy from – I missed that gene. Back when those over 70 could travel more than 5k from their home, back in the pre-COVID days, a local woman would pop up to the house before she embarked on a road trip home. She’d come for scones. Various groups and committees when having meetings that involved tea and something would lodge their requests, too. AGMs of the committees mam was on were invariably fed with her scones and pots of my dad’s jam. When I’m home, my breakfast consists of a scone and a cup of coffee. She’s all about the scones.
I’ve seen her bake. There’s little by way of measuring. She knows intuitively how much of what to use and in fairness, she’s been doing it for a while. Scones aren’t rocket science – flour, butter, egg, salt, sugar, milk, and a pinch of salt. How difficult could it be?
I’ve mastered the intricacies of the cinnamon roll. I was happy with my hot cross buns. I’ve the muffin thing down pat. And the pound cakes and the banana bread. I can manage a cobbler and a crumble, but I’ve shied away from scones. Perhaps on some level, I didn’t want to come up short. I didn’t want to not have them taste like mam’s.
This morning, I took the plunge. I had to mix up my own self-raising flour because it’s not something I’ve come across in Hungary (1 cup of all-purpose flour with 1.5 tsp of baking powder and 0.5 tsp of salt). I did what I was told, as I was told, and waited.
The kitchen smelled just like mam’s kitchen at home on a Saturday morning. It’s odd that nothing else I’ve baked has given off the same smell. Just these scones.
On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 having zero resemblance to mam’s scones, and 10 being as close of as dammit to what she makes, mine score a 5. They look like scones. They smell like scones. They taste like scones. But they’re not her scones.
Funny what you miss.
Writing my Budapest Times piece earlier this week, I found myself thinking of the things I want to do when we get back to doing things. Top of that list is paying closer attention to my mother baking scones. That’s not likely to happen for another few months, though, so in the meantime, I’m grateful for the memory and the time to practice making my own.