Nothing better represents British food pedantry than the humble scone. This is no simple baked bread product, but a powerful prism for splitting the white light of Britishness into the minute spectra of class, education and social standing. Let’s deal firstly with matters linguistical.
It’s scone to rhyme with John!
According to a 1998 survey by University College London, roughly 65% of people opt for this version, which is also the one endorsed by the Oxford English dictionary.
No, it’s scone to rhyme with Joan!
The ‘Joans’ on the other hand number around 35%, and no doubt feel the ‘Johns’s are common and unable to speak correctly. Each side offers examples of similar words such as stone, or gone.
How do you eat yours?
Then there's the dilemma of how to eat it. Cream on first is apparently the Devonshire way of doing it; jam on first is reputed to be the Cornish way (see main image above). However, on my travels I've seen the complete opposite of this in both counties. Ellen Easton even goes so far as to declare it 'improper to slice a scone in its entirety' and recommends breaking off small chunks and applying jam and cream to these, as one might a croissant.
It seems the whole issue exists to beset and befuddle the middle classes; you notice no one gives a monkey's about whether it's the salt or the vinegar that goes on chips first.
Here’s how I eat mine
I personally favour proper clotted cream on first – yes, on top of proper butter – then a blob of either strawberry or damson jam. The reason why I think this works is that if the cream is on top, it hits your mouth first, completely filling your taste buds. When the jam (which should be at room temperature) is on top, it hits your mouth with that citrus sugar sharpness before the mouth-wide cooling effect of the cream. Finally, I pronounce scone to rhyme with John, but that's just me. I’m also partial to ‘thunder and lightening’ which sees treacle replace the jam – try it, it’s utterly amazing.