All you closet royalists no doubt caught some of the highlights of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations last Sunday. In case you missed it, more than a million people, undaunted by the rainy weather, thronged the banks of the Thames to wave wet flags at the Queen as she drifted by on the gilded Royal Barge, followed by a flotilla of a thousand boats. There she was, 86 years old, dressed in shimmery white and standing in the drizzle for hours on end, smiling and waving as she has for the past six decades. When it comes to pomp and pageantry and never giving in, the Brits have it down.
My brother, who still lives in England and is not given to emotional displays (he is British, after all) was so impressed by the Queen’s undimmed sense of duty, he went so far as to suggest an absolute monarchy might not be a bad idea at this point. “I’d rather have a feisty old bird with a sense of humor running the show than that bunch of self-seeking halfwits in Parliament,” he announced before heading off to the sofa for a Jubilee snooze.
Anyway, this blog is the Accidental Foodie rather than the Accidental Immigrant (another story altogether), so to mark the Jubilee in an Anglo-American way, here’s a recipe for drop scones that the young Queen Elizabeth served President Eisenhower when he visited Balmoral in 1959. According to the British National Archives, it’s a family recipe, and she made them for him herself. Don’t tell Her Maj, but I’ve adapted it slightly. You can eat the drop scones with syrup (golden or maple), but served with strawberry compote and a scoop of vanilla ice cream they’re a lovely summery dessert, fit for… anyone.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
3 tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup of superfine sugar (or a little more if you use granulated sugar)
1½ cups whole milk
2 Tbsp butter
1 lb strawberries
4 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
P.S. Eisenhower is said to have enjoyed the queen’s drop scones so much that he asked for the recipe, which she sent him.