Mrs. Darbyshire

Forty-two years ago, we spent the summer in a little town outside Dublin with our then four-month old daughter. Larry would mostly take off during the day, which left me lots of time to become friendly with the curious neighbors. Mrs. Daryshire had the baby and me over for tea one day, and I loved her scones. I asked her for the recipe, and she said–like a true home cook–oh, no recipe, dear, just a little of this and a pinch of that. Eventually, she let me watch her make them. I recorded the ingredients and measures as best I could while she did. At the end, she threw a bit of flour into the bowl and rubbed it around to gather the bits of dough that had stuck. ¬†Then she went out and threw this to the chickens. I was deeply impressed with the organic efficiency of it all, not to mention the scones.

Now, so many years later, I make my own scones, throwing the remnants to my chickens. I still have Mrs. Darbyshire’s recipe–a light, airy, tea scone (see below). But I make mine now with lots of oats and gluten-free flour using a recipe from the wonderful Walnut Creek Baking Company. I’ve been ordering dozens of their scones and freezing them for years, but they really couldn’t make a batch of gluten-free ones for me. Instead, they kindly sent me the recipe. I don’t think they’d want me to publish it, but if you want a copy, let me know and I’ll send it. In the meantime, here’s the authentic tea scone recipe from 1970.

If you can’t quite read the blotched area, it’s 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 4 oz margarine (I would use butter today), large handful sugar.

This typed version been pasted in my cookbook for decades and has made many a lovely, light scone.

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