For years, I was the friend who never had a boyfriend. My idea of a “long-term relationship” was the one guy I dated in college for four consecutive weeks. I considered that a Big Deal.
Why the dysfunction? I was picky (like, Seinfeld picky), I got bored, and most of all, I loved a challenge and always went after the one I couldn’t have.
Then, a little more than two years ago, I met Roger. I met him at a party for a mutual friend and was taken with his British charm, his dashing looks and his keen intelligence. But then I discovered we were 15 years apart, subscribed to different political ideologies and held different religious beliefs. Clearly he was undateable.
I canceled our first date (made up some lame work-related excuse) and gave him the runaround for nearly a month. Not only did we seem to have so may superficial differences, but he was also so available. And who wants that?
But persistence paid off. I finally agreed to go on a date with him — “Just one drink,” I said — but told one of my girlfriends to call me about 45 minutes into the date with an “emergency.” One always needs an “out” in such situations…
Well, she never called. And she didn’t need to. Despite all the qualifications that I felt he didn’t meet on paper, I realized we really did have a lot in common. One drink turned into two drinks…and dinner…and a kiss on the cheek to say goodnight.
I wasn’t cured of my relationship-related dysfunction overnight. I continued to worry about our age difference and our politics and the problems those things could create down the road. But I slowly came to the conclusion that I would deal with those problems when they became problems. And you know what? They never did.
Truthfully, on some level, my concerns about the age difference and everything else came down to what other people might think (“What will they say?! A man who is 15 years older — imagine the gossip!”). But in the end, it didn’t matter what other people thought. It mattered what I thought, and I loved him.
So here I am, two years later, in love and now — the secret is out — engaged.
As a tribute to the English man who melted this American girl’s heart, here is a recipe for English scones. They are tender and fulfilling, with the perfect amount of sweetness, just like him.
Adapted from Rose Carrarini’s “Breakfast Lunch Tea”
Note: The directions here are a little squishy — a handful of this, a heaping tablespoon of that — but despite that, these scones came out fantastically well. Also, I used a food processor, but Carrarini’s instructions have you mix everything by hand, so you can do that was well.
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
A handful of whole wheat flour
2 very heaped tablespoons baking powder
2 heaped tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
About 7 1/2 tablespoons (110g) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup golden raisins (“sultanas”)
1 1/4 cups cold milk (whole or 2%)
1 egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray paper with non-stick spray.
Place the flours in the work bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the baking powder, sugar and salt and pulse again to combine all the dry ingredients.
Add the butter pieces to the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs or coarse meal. Do not over-process. If necessary, finish working in the butter by hand so that you don’t go too far. Mix in the golden raisins.
Dump the mixture into a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Add the milk to the well and use a fork to moisten the dry ingredients. Finish mixing gently with your hand, making sure the ingredients are fully moistened. If the mixture seems too dry, add a touch more milk. If it seems too wet, add a little more flour. You want a soft, shaggy dough. It should not be sticky at all.
Turn the dough out onto a light floured surface and pat the dough down until it is 1 1/2 inches high. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out the scones and transfer them to a baking sheet. (Technically, you should not “re-roll” scone dough. However, I gently pressed the scraps together to make them stick and cut out more scones because I can’t bear wasting ingredients… They turned out just fine — less pretty, but still very tasty.)
Brush the tops of the scones with the beaten egg and transfer the baking sheet to the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the scones are golden brown on top. Let cool every so slightly, and enjoy them slathered with butter and/or jam.
Yield: 15-20 scones