Food is a language of its own.
I moved six hundred miles away from my hometown to go to college. For every reasonably-long holiday, I’d climb into my beater of a car and make my way north on highway 77, fueled by gasoline and prayer. And always, I’d be thinking about what was ahead. About good times with people I loved. About relaxing in the land of my roots. And about mom’s potato soup.
Few things speak love to me quite like a bowl of that potato soup. I have not figured out how to make it, and part of me doesn’t want to. There’s something deeply good about this soup being stirred by the woman who brought me into the world. This creamy bowl of happiness connects me to my mother.
Moving across the world to the land of curry, coconut milk, and chai has only broadened food’s ability to communicate to me. Now I feel a deep warmth when May makes her chicken curry with noodles. More than just my bodily thirst is quenched when Fon serves up a cool class of green tea with milk on a hot day. The smell of fresh bread that greets me as I enter my teammate’s home tells me I’m welcome there, body and soul.
It’s funny that none of these foods are all that fancy. They’re simply made, yet hand-crafted as an act of love and service.
I want to pass on that love. I want my home to be a place where people feel loved and valued and where the food does more than nourish the body.
Cooking overseas amps up the adventure. My kitchen has known its share of flops – there was the time I bought the wrong kind of sweet potato (who knew there were so many kinds?) and I ended up with a casserole dish filled with sweet potato soufflé that tasted good but was the exact color of baby puke (thankfully it was for an expat Thanksgiving gathering and everyone had a great sense of humor about it – although I saw many people eyeing the dish on the table, seemingly thinking what on earth is that disgusting-looking blob of food?). Then there was that Christmas when I was SO EXCITED to find candy canes at our export grocery store and rushed home to make peppermint chocolate cookies. But when I tasted the final product, I discovered the candy canes were strawberry flavored. Again, tasted ok, but not at all what I was going for. And who knew bags of MSG look so much like bags of sugar? That was some kind of sweet tea . . .
But flops and all, this hot little room with a little box oven can be a place where love is served, where grace is spread, where friendship is tasted.
May it be so in my home. May it be so in yours.
It helps to have accessible recipes, and so bingo, here’s one for you today. This is my favorite scone recipe from thekitchenmagpie.com. It’s simple, uses pantry ingredients, versatile, and so, so delicious. I love how quickly you can whip up a batch and have homemade yumminess in the hands of your guests in no-time flat.
The Best Scones Ever
1 cup sour cream (I often use unsweetened yogurt)
1 tsp. Baking soda
4 cups flour
1 cup white sugar
2 tsp. Baking powder
1 tsp. Salt
1 cup butter
1 cup add-ins (you choose! blueberries, raisins, chocolate chips, dried berries)
Preheat oven to 350*. Mix baking soda and sour cream, set aside. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the butter using a knife or your hands until small crumbs appear. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and add to the sour cream mixture. Then, add the egg/sour cream mixture to the dry mixture, working it in. If the dough seems too dry, you can add some milk. Once combined, add the add-ins. Divide into three equal circles that are one-inch thick. Cut each circle into 6 equal triangles. Bake on a well-greased pan for 15-20 minutes until slightly browned and rounded on the top. Enjoy!
Tip: these are best best best served warm. So eat ‘em right away!
For full tutorial, see https://www.thekitchenmagpie.com/the-best-scones-ever/#wprm-recipe-container-40529