There is a great debate happening in England, and it’s all about scones. Or rather, how to eat them. It’s caused such outrage online that the Queen herself was called upon to weigh in. The issue at hand? Should one cream then jam their scone, or vice versa? A sweet and stratospheric debate for an era of internet ire.
Scones topped with clotted cream and jam are a British snack known as cream tea. They have a history that some claim dates back to the 11th century and are most traditionally served one of two ways. In Devonshire, scones are only ever topped first by clotted cream, then a dollop of jam. In Cornwall, eaters of cream tea abide by an opposing philosophy: jam then cream, always.
The dietary divide came to a head earlier this month when a restaurant in Cornwall advertised a Mother’s Day afternoon tea on Facebook. “Show your mum you care,” the post read beneath a close-up photo of a scone adorned first by cream and then jam, per Devon tradition. A Cornwall institution serving Devon-style cream tea? The post incited nothing short of a fierce online dispute, one that brought to light not only the differences in the two methods of scone dressing, but the importance of adhering to one’s preferred preparation. Comments, often inflammatory ones, were tossed about. So many, in fact, that the people behind the faux pas followed up with an official apology.
Well, it seems, amidst all the hubbub, one voice has emerged to join the conversation: the Queen’s. Darren McGrady, a chef who worked for the British royal family from 1982 to 1993, stepped up via Twitter to share the Queen’s cream tea preference. Over the course of two tweets, McGrady revealed that the Queen always opts for her cream tea per the Cornwall tradition, topped first with jam then cream.
Jam first or Clotted Cream first ? Jam first at Buckingham Palace garden parties ! https://t.co/fTAyuwGxcs— The Royal Chef (@DarrenMcGrady) March 11, 2018
The Queen always had home-made Balmoral jam first ( @tiptree little scarlet when we ran out) with clotted cream on top at Buckingham Palace garden parties in the Royal tea tent and all Royal tea parties. https://t.co/fTAyuwGxcs— The Royal Chef (@DarrenMcGrady) March 15, 2018
Hers is a rather stately opinion to be made aware of. Regardless, the scone debate brings to mind many other bread and topping quandaries: What’s the best schmear to dress a bagel? The standout method for perfectly buttered toast? Should butter really go on bread before cheese? (The French think so!). It’s really, at the end of the day, for you to decide.
What are some of the biggest bread debates you can think of? Tell us where you stand in the comments.