In the world of sweet treats, there are definitely some favorites that transcend. The making cookies and pies is tied to celebration and affection in ways that few other activities are. Recipes are often tied to years of family traditions, crafted along the way based on the tastes and preferences of those in the kitchen and the ingredients available. Certain recipes never go away, and there is no way someone else’s version is better than the one you grew up tasting.
And then there are the cultural touchstones, the baked goods that communicate not only flavor and texture, but culture and history. The French macaron, the Italian biscotti, the British shortbread – these cookies couldn’t be more different just as the cultures from which they sprang have long and diverse histories. For me, that is part of the joy of baking – understanding the links between history and recipe, knowing how cultural tastes shape the treats we treasure.
My own interest in British baking is inextricably tied to my passion for British history, literature and culture. And yet baking gives me insight into British history and culture that I never could have accessed through books, music, and movies. Scones connect me to a pleasant afternoon tea, pasties to the hardworking hands of British miners and laborers, Bara Brith to the hilly pastures of Wales, shortbread to the cold winters of Scotland, Parkin to the hot bonfires of revolution. I think of the hearth and home of thousands of years of British families when I bake British recipes. As an American, I realize that my passion for British baking is a kind of tourism, but as a baker, I know that these recipes have so many stories to share. Let me be your guide to incredible taste and a long history. You may just find a new family favorite.
Order tea time treats and British favorites here.
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” -Virginia Woolf