When you’re sick, you have two things on your mind. I’m quite sure of this.
Poor me is the first of them.
I think there’s a tiny part in all of us that secretly enjoys being under the weather and cooped up inside all day. It gives us an excuse to demand someone else to run to the store and to prop our heads up with a third pillow. We like to indulge in our temporary unhealthiness for a few days. That is, until our illness begins to grow old and you start envying the laughs of the healthy kids climbing trees and playing hopscotch outside.
The second thing on our minds when we’re sick, is Sick food.
Perhaps I should re-word that so that you don’t have images of sneezy, lethargic, and phlegmy fruits, soups, and casseroles conjuring up in your head. We’ll call it “food that you eat when you’re sick”, the food that you eat when you’re stuffed up with a queasy belly and the chills.
In the states, chicken noodle soup, ginger ale, and Jell-o are the classic go-to sick foods. Or maybe that was just my childhood. If you grew up in a different climate or on a different spot on the globe, you’re sick food menu was sure to consist of a different main course, dessert, and snack. This is sort of an interesting topic within itself. One family’s medicine-in-the-form-of-food could likely send another family running for an empty milk carton. You know, to throw up in. Or again, maybe that was just from my childhood.
I apologize if this is not the most appetizing intro to a recipe. Most food blog posts are intended to excite the senses and send you running to the kitchen full of inspiration and desire. But when you’re going on day 6 of the icks, it begins to be hard to think about anything else. Luckily for me, I had some great reading material just waiting for the next rainy day. Or, as was the case, the next sick day. Waiting to be picked up on my ever-growing food lit. shelf, was Molly Wizenberg’s new, A Homemade Life- Stories and Recipes From My Kitchen Table.
I like to judge a book based on a clear set of credentials. If it meets at least one of the credentials, then it’s worth keeping. If it meets two of the credentials, it becomes worth recommending to others. But if it meets all three credentials, it receives The Siri Stamp of Approval and becomes potential gift-giving material in the future- at least to those individuals who have also received that same Stamp of Approval. A top-notch book, under my standards needs to; make you feel, make you believe, and make you regretful when you read the last page that there isn’t any more.
This isn’t going to be a book review- I gave those up in the 7th grade. But I will say that A Homemade Life certainly made me feel (you can be certain if you find yourself laughing out loud, crying at parts, and/or jealous that you didn’t write the book yourself). It also made me believe, meaning that although some of her through-the-belly memories seemed a little nuttier than my own life, they were all completely relatable, readable, and realistic.
My last category for judging a really good book is the clincher: being regretful when you reach that last page that there’s no more to read. Some novels you get wrapped up in and hurry to read, just so you know what happens and can sleep well having all the suspense behind you. But then there are other books, like this one, where you savor every chapter, every image, every bit of detail (and every recipe, in this case) and get a little teary-eyed when you reach the end. It’s a bit like moving away from a friend. You’ll always have the experiences from spending time together, but hate the fact that you won’t be creating any new ones ever again.
But enough about sickness and books and all these little side notes. They’re really just an excuse to post a great recipe. A recipe that made me want to get out of my sick bed and bake. The fact that this recipe for Molly’s scones turned out to be a winner and a keeper (proof in the fact that I polished off half of the batch by mid-morning) made the extra effort worthwhile.
I made my scones flavored with lemon zest and Cointreau-soaked currants. Molly recommends playing with the flavorings, but highly recommends using crystallized ginger or whole, frozen berries. As with any top-notch recipe, I can’t imagine they’d be too shabby completely plain, either. They're best if eaten within a day or two (be skeptical of a scone that lasts any longer than that!), but if they do happen to dry out, there's nothing wrong with dunking them in that chicken noodle soup!
Molly Wizenberg’s Scottish Scones (aka: Sick Scones)
Recipe from A Homemade Life
2 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons (2 ounces) (55 g) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
A small handful of flavorful additions of your choice (diced dried fruit, crystallized ginger, pistachios, walnuts, almonds, fresh or frozen blueberries, strawberries, etc...)
1/2 cup (125 ml) half-and-half, plus more for glazing (you could use a lower-fat milk, but the end product will be less tender)
1 large egg
1. Preheat oven to 425F/220C. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. Rub the butter into the flour mixture, working until you have no lumps bigger than a pea. Add the sugar, lemon zest, and whatever additions you choose, and whisk or toss to mix.
2. Beat together the half-and-half and the egg in a small bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dries, reserving just a tad of the milk-egg mixture to use as a glaze. Bring dough together gently with a wooden spoon.
3. Turn dough out onto a very lightly floured counter and knead it no more than 12 times. [Apparently, twelve is the magic number here; surpass it at your own risk.] Pat dough into a round approximately 1-inch (2 cm) thick, and cut into 8 wedges. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, glaze wedges with remaining milk-egg liquid.
4. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack slightly, then eat while still warm. Great smeared with butter and drizzled with honey, but they really need no adornment at all.