Jam or cream first? Milk in tea before or after water? What are your food habits?
The Great Scone debate erupted this week with fiercer wrangling than the age old question: “What came first the chicken or the egg?”
The question spouting from everyone’s lips was “What comes first: jam or cream?” in a dispute over that quintessentially English afternoon tea delight.
It was the National Trust that ignited the storm in a cream tea cup with a seemingly innocent advert at a property in Cornwall proclaiming the indulgent pleasures of scones.
However, the ad caused outrage as it commited the heinous crime of showing a scone with a dollop of jam on top of the cream ... when the traditional Cornish way is to spread the jam first and then smother twith cream.
The blunder sparked the historic rivalry between Devon and Cornwall as it is the Devon way to cover the scone in cream before adding jam.
Some Cornish folk were so offended by “Sconegate”, they labelled it “disgusting” and “shocking” with some even threatening to cancel their National Trust memberships.
My own scone habits are dictated by greed and laziness than the correct etiquette.
More often than not it’s jam first so I can then lather on as much cream as possible.
But usually it’s a case of whichever pot is the nearest or not being patient enough to wait for the person already serving the jam to finish.
There’s even division in our own household as Hubby is a “cream first” kind of man.
He insists clotted cream – or whatever cream the scones come with – is like a version of butter and has first place on the scone.
He argues if you put jam on first, the cream would “drag” the jam and make a right mess and looks down his nose at my slapdash scones.
It got me thinking about all the other quirks and weird traits people have when it comes to food and drink.
The beverage part of an afternoon tea is also a topic of controversy as there’s all sorts of rows over whether to use loose tea or a tea bag.
The biggest argument centres around whether putting the milk in first is a complete no-no.
I’m more a coffee drinker myself – and definitely think milk before hot water gives a coffee a smoother taste.
Chips can also cause contention when it comes to their correct covering.
In my days of being a Southerner before I headed up the M6 to become an adopted Northerner, chips were served with condiments of salt, vinegar and perhaps ketchup.
However, when I came to live in the North, I was initially taken aback by the concept of “chips and gravy” or “chips with curry sauce” or even more bizarrely, “chips and cheese” or for those who want to go the whole hog “chips, cheese and gravy.”
Although these dishes seemed alien to me at one time, I now tuck into all these chip dishes with gusto.
Childhood recollections of eating food are full of nostalgic fondness.
Eating a Custard Cream just isn’t the same as a grown-up as nothing beats the thrill of separating the two halves of biscuit and scraping the cream in the middle with your teeth.
And quite frankly, anyone who ate Hula Hoops as a child without putting them on all their fingers as rings is just one warped individual who has never lived.