The thing is, I don't think of this as a frivolous issue. When a nation that has made tea and scones practically compulsory suddenly removes the option of plain scones—without consulting or even warning the public—something more than casual chance is involved. This smacks of governmental interference at the highest level, a serious breech of trust, an attack on our civil liberties and a disturbing turn toward totalitarianism.
Everywhere I go, I keep an eye out for plain scones (really, I do; it drives my wife crazy) and the results have been depressing bordering on panic. Our local market no longer carries them, I can't find any at the baker's and they stopped serving them in the National Trust Tea Shoppes (and if that doesn't prove it's a government conspiracy, I don't know what does).
Take a look at this photo:
The book is Alexander McCall's latest in his 44 Scotland Avenue series, "The Unbearable Lightness of Scones," (that's a scone in the upper left corner of the book, with raisins), and the card is from a popular novelty-card range and both serve to demonstrate how the anti-plain scone lobby is insinuating itself into the very fibre of our daily lives.
Lately, it appears the tide is turning, or perhaps the conspiracy is deepening. You decide:
Alert reader Rebecca Daly wrote to tell me plain scones are available in the bakery section of Fortnum and Mason. Unfortunately, their store is in London and I don't meet the "Net Worth" requirement for shopping there (though they tolerated my nosing around when I and my companions wandered in one evening while waiting for the concert to begin). F&M (http://www.fortnumandmason.com/) is a great place to pick up a Caviar Quartet (£450) and jar of white truffles (£300) along with some champagne (£145) to wash it down with (you can also pick up a bottle of 32-year old single malt for £360, but that's not really a bad price). Scones there, plain or otherwise, are likely to go for £57.44 a dozen, so in reality, this isn't making plain scones available at all; it's just another cynical ploy to create the illusion of choice when, the fact is, most of us are too poor to afford them.
|Nope, no plain scones here.|
Likewise, I have recently discovered plain scones at our local Marks & Spencer (quick primer for the US crowd: M&S is primarily a clothing store but years ago they added a supermarket section catering to people who think Waitrose isn't posh enough). They don't stock plain scones at the Waitrose we shop at, and I have never seen them at Sainsburys or Tesco, either. Granted, that's mostly because I don't shop at Sainsburys or Tesco, but that doesn't mean it isn't so, which supports my theory that the government is holding back all the plain scones, keeping them in reserve for the wealthy and the titled. This is class war at its ugliest, and it is so painfully obvious I sometimes wonder why The Daily Mail hasn't picked up on it yet.
Then at other times, when the lithium kicks in, I'll think maybe it's just a swing in the pendulum, and I'll treat myself to some clotted cream, strawberry jam and a package of M&S plain scones.