So this is my best memory of my friend, JoAnn. It is the late 1970s at Calabash Cove, a seafood restaurant in Charlotte. I am having supper with her and her children, who at that time were probably six and eight years old. She orders fried fish, maybe flounder. I don’t remember. She quietly asks the waitress to have the fish cut into thin strips.
I say to the children, “Do you like fried flounder?” JoAnn glares at me and hisses. “Fish sticks! Fish sticks!” Anyone who has children understands this, which at the time I did not. I do now.
This is my second favorite memory of JoAnn. It is June 21, 1982, at four in the morning. There is a knock at my door. It is JoAnn. Some of you ladies have already guessed this, haven’t you? We have decided to watch Prince Charles’ and Lady Diana’s wedding. There were scones involved and Mimosas.
I am not quite sure why more of the populace does not understand the importance of royal weddings as JoAnn and I do. Oh, we don’t care about some duke in Luxembourg marrying a countess from Spain. That’s small potatoes. But when the really big ones come around, JoAnn and I are fully supportive and totally tuned in. Which is why, on April 29, we will have both traveled to a cabin in Pigeon Forge – she from Winston-Salem and I from Brentwood – to assure that Prince William and Kate get off to a good start. Unlike 1982, there will be a large flat-screen TV involved this time.
So we have been fussing over how to sustain the incredible energy it takes to note every nuance and detail of such a historic event, should anyone quiz us after. Scones will probably be involved again with some Devonshire cream and raspberry jam. After making approximately 574 scones during the course of my time working on the English tea, I think I have that recipe down. Some sort of alcohol will definitely be part of the festivities. Maybe we will do Welsh Rarebit in honor of the Prince of Wales. I am definitely tempted to introduce the cucumber sandwiches from the English Tea to JoAnn. We will spend a total of five hours in front of the telly, as the British say, and we will need some serious eats.
It probably says something, and I’m not sure it’s good, that through the more than 20 years we have been apart, that we have chosen this august occasion for a reunion. In the ensuing years after I moved from Charlotte, there have been babies born, children raised, graduations held. But the Wedding of the Century? There was really no other option.
So, just in case you’re planning your own wedding watching party, here without further ado is the English Tea recipe for scones. The only thing to remember is just barely mix the batter. Otherwise, they will be tough and you will be judged harshly by your guests. If they’re awake.
Williamsburg Inn Golden Raisin Scones
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
¼ Cup Sugar
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/8 Teaspoon Salt
Sift above ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
3 ounces chilled butter
Cut butter into small pieces and mix into flour until butter is the size of small peas.
½ Cup Whipping Cream
2 Large Eggs
½ Tablespoon Butter Almond Extract (or other flavor of your choice)
Whisk whipping cream, eggs, and extract together and add to butter and flour mixture. Mix until dough just holds together – don’t overmix!
½ Cup Golden Raisins
Mix until incorporated.
Place dough on to a floured surface and slightly knead together. Roll out to ½ – ¾ inch thickness. Cut with 2-inch round biscuit cutter and place on a cookie sheet that has been covered with parchment paper. Re-roll excess dough to cut out more scones.
Brush with egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water) and bake at 375 degrees for about 9 – 12 minutes, depending on size. Bake until light golden brown. Cool on wire rack.
(As noted in the title, this recipe is used by the Williamsburg Inn in Colonial Williamsburg.)