Cream Tea and Scones

I’m sure you have no trouble knowing what scones are, but there seems to be quite a bit of uncertainty about who first made them.  Was it the Scots in the 16th century? Was it the English? Is the name Gaelic, German or Dutch?

Whoever came up with the little cakes first, the British firmly embraced them for afternoon tea, perhaps as early as the 18th century , and then the British region of Devon came up with clotted cream from their Jersey cows, and although there’s no cream in the tea of a Cream Tea–the afternoon ritual generally includes scones, clotted (or Devon) cream. and strawberry jam.

I made AMERICAN scones.

tea and scones

Tea and Cranberry Scones and Lemon curd served on my wedding china.

Read how WRONG the scones are when made with dried cranberries (an American fruit, for one thing. Horrors!) and dusted with cinnamon sugar–the way I made them.  PLUS. I served lemon curd instead of clotted cream. And no strawberry jam. Heaven forbid.  The Guardian’s article about “How to eat a cream tea” had me laughing out loud. Perhaps I should be watching out for those “hounds of fury” that will be unleashed upon me by a afternoon tea purist!

However, the article writer at the Guardian is not a stickler for traditon. He does not like clotted cream, and much prefers double-whipped cream anyway.  I concur, having dumped a jar of clotted cream because it tasted “off.” Whoops–that’s how it is supposed to taste!

So make the scones or not–your choice.  But DO read the Guardian’s article on how to eat a cream tea. You’ll be glad you did.

And just a personal word of thanks to my daughter-in-law Rene for presenting me with a variety of teas and clotted cream, lemon curd and raspberry curd which inspired this article.

For more about my ancestors and tea, see this post.

Buttermilk Drop Scones

Serves 12-14
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk, Wheat
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Bread
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Region British
From book Joy of Cooking (1997 edition)
The history of Scones may be a bit fuzzy, and the toppings may be controversial, but this all-American version, drop scones using buttermilk and cranberries, is easy to make and palate pleasing.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or substitute raisins, currants or other dried fruit)
  • sugar and cinnamon (for topping)


1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
2. Melt butter in microwave, or by putting it in an oven-proof ramekin in the oven as the oven heats.
3. Whisk together all dry ingredients (including sugar)
4. Beat egg, add and beat buttermilk and melted butter (cooled slightly)
5. Mix in the dried cranberries or other fruit
6. Mix together the moist ingredients and fruit into the dry ingredients. Mix just until no dry ingredients show. Do not overmix.
7. Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, place mounds of 2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter at least one inch apart on a lightly greased baking sheet.
8. Sprinkle tops with sugar and cinnamon
9. Bake at 400 degrees until tops are golden brown about 15 minutes. Cool on rack.


Unless you are a stickler for tradition, your scones do not have to rolled and cut in triangles, and scones do not have to be served with clotted cream.  In fact, the scones with dried fruit (of your choice) do not need anything on top--although Irish butter would never be amiss, and I enjoyed my scones with lemon curd.


Family Heirlooms

Heirloom china Forest Rose

Forest Rose pattern Inside of cup and on salad plate

The plate and teacup in the picture above are from my wedding china, purchased in 1960.  The china is Hutschenreuther Forest Rose pattern, made in Germany.  Little did I know when we picked it for our wedding registry that it was made in Bavaria, the home country of many  of my ancestors.

This pattern is no longer in production. As of 2000, the Hutschenreuther line as been part of Rosenthal.   There is a very similar one called Continental made by Rosenthal, but mine has the hallmark and the distinctive pattern of the Hutschenreuther Forest Rose, with its gold leaf stem and leaves.

Heirloom china Forest rose pattern

Forest Rose pattern on salad plate

Description: A single white rose shadowed in gray, with stem and leaves in brown with gold leaf.  The hallmark Is a CM in a shield with 18 on one side and 14 on the other. Hutschenreuther and Hoenberg are inside an oval surround all of this, with Germany below the oval. This would indicate it was made in the original Carl Magnus Hutschenreuther (later merged and expanded several times). A more detailed history here.

china hallmark

Hutschenreuther mark on bottom of salad plate

This has been another in my occasional posts on family heirlooms–in this case family collectibles rather than more valuable antiques.

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories:


Boston Brown Bread Comes Out of the Can

Why is it that we automatically pair certain foods?  Turkey and cranberry sauce, steak and potatoes, hot dogs and beans, hamburgers and french fries, baked beans and Boston brown bread.

My mother always cooked certain foods together. For instance, a favorite Saturday night meal was tomato soup (out of the can, made with milk) and toasted cheese sandwiches. And when she made her “doctored” baked beans, we could expect to have Boston Brown Bread out of a can–moist and rich, with the can ridges showing on its round form.  Just the thought of a nice slice of that Boston brown bread, preferably warmed,  slathered with butter or cream cheese, still makes my mouth water. Absolutely perfect with that pineapple cream cheese spread I mentioned last week.

Canned Boston Brown Bread, like some other favorites of days gone by, seems to have become scarce and more expensive over the years. (Have you priced mincemeat in a jar recently? Sticker shock for sure!)


So it finally occurred to me that Boston Brown Bread wasn’t invented by a company that put it in a can. DUH!  I may be a little slow to think of these things, but once I realized that my New England ancestor grandmothers and great-great-great aunts must have made Boston Brown Bread to go with baked beans like Molasses baked beans, I started looking for a recipe.

Boston Brown Bread

Boston Brown Bread and baked beans

The articles and recipes I found were pretty intimidating. They called for the traditional one-pound coffee can to use as a mold, and set in a deep kettle on the top of the stove to be boiled, or a 3-quart oven-safe container, if you want to steam in the oven.  Joy of Cooking had a recipe for baked Brown Bread as well as a steamed one (in a pudding mold), but I don’t have a pudding mold or the right size  Pyrex dish (it would be  one-quart size for the amount I made) nor did I have a deep enough pan for a one-pound coffee can or mold. (If you have a pasta pan, that will be perfect.) Plus the cans used today are not safe to use as a mold.  And baked just wouldn’t do.  How would you get that wonderful moist texture? Although, I’m not discounting steaming in the oven if you have the appropriate container.

My 1920’s Buffalo Cooking School Cookbook assumed a mold and a steamer, but finished the bread after steaming by putting in a moderate oven for about 25 minutes.

The flour mixture used in that cookbook was cornmeal, rye or graham flour and whole wheat flour, the other ingredients and the amounts were nearly identical to the ones in the recipe I ended up using, except my recipe made half as much.  Other recipes used cornmeal, rye and graham flour.  I happened to have some rye, but not graham, so that is what I used.

Now– How to steam the pudding?  I had to get rather creative, since I did not have a deep enough pot to hold anything that would contain five cups of batter (the amount in 1/2 recipe).  I did have a 9″ loaf pan that was just slightly larger than needed. And when I tested it, found that although it did not drop down into my largest pan (5″ deep), it rested nicely on the lip. Since the recipes call for resting it on a rack or a layer of crumpled foil, I knew having it suspended should be fine.

Note: A comment on the recipe at the King Arthur Flour site suggests using pint wide-mouth canning jars, which sounds like a great solution for smaller, round loaves.

I crossed my fingers, made the batter, poured it into a very well greased loaf pan, sealed it tightly with aluminum foil.  I brought to a boil about 1 1/2 inches of water in the large pan, set the loaf pan into the larger pan, resting on the rim. Since the large pot’s lid was not going to seal with this arrangement, I put another double thickness of aluminum foil over the entire thing, and then put on the lid.

Since it steams for 3 1/2 hours, I had to add boiling water a couple of times. (Don’t add water at less than boiling, because you don’t want uneven cooking.)  And be VERY careful when lifting the lid (and in my case, the larger piece of aluminum foil) so that you don’t get burned.

It is also tricky to test to see if the Brown Bread is done.  My loaf pan with 5 cups of batter took 3 1/2 hours.  I carefully removed the lid and aluminum foil, then lifted the loaf pan out and lifted the aluminum foil covering the top of the loaf pan. I tested the center with a skewer, which came out fairly clean.  Since this is a moist bread, the test skewer will not ever be totally clean. And it will continue to cook after it comes out of the steamer.

I admit I forgot to grease the underside of the aluminum foil covering the loaf pan, but since my pan was a little too large, the bread did not rise enough to hit the “lid” of aluminum foil.  If you have a smaller pan or mold, be sure you fill only 2/3 full, and grease the underside of the lid or foil.

If that steaming arrangement sounds too challenging–once I tasted it, I had no doubt that it was worth the experiment with pans and the cautions necessary. It was absolutely molasses-y delicious, and very similar to the fondly remembered canned Boston Brown Bread, all except the shape.

Boston Brown Bread loaf

Loaf of Boston Brown Bread sliced

I served the Boston Brown Bread with some “doctored” baked beans. Mother would start with canned baked beans and add ketchup and honey and maybe a bit of mustard.  I used a can of kidney beans and a can of black beans, added ketchup, mustard, and molasses and let bake for 3 hours at 300 degrees. Here’s the recipe for the Boston Brown Bread.

Boston Brown Bread

Serves 10-12
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 3 hours, 30 minutes
Total time 3 hours, 45 minutes
Allergy Milk, Wheat
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Bread
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Region American
From book Harvest of American Cooking by Mary Margaret McBride (1956)
If you loved Boston Brown Bread from a can, try this easy recipe for steamed Boston Brown Bread.


  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup raisins (Can substitute currants or dried cranberries.)
  • 2/3 cups molasses
  • 1 cup buttermilk (Can substitute sour milk)


1. Whisk together all dry incredients.
2. Mix in raisins.
3. Stir in buttermilk and molasses until all is moist.
4. Turn into 5-cup well greased mold. Cover tightly with lid or double layer of aluminum foil, buttered on inside, and tied with string.
5. Put rack or crumbled foil into bottom of kettle. Place mold with batter on rack. Pour in boiling water to depth of one to two inches.
6. Cover kettle tightly.
7. Steam 3 1/2 hours, adding boiling water as needed to keep at least one inch deep.


Some people soak the raisins in rum or other alcohol. Some leave them out entirely.

Boston Brown Bread is particularly delicious spread with cream cheese.  Boston Brown Bread is traditionally served with baked beans.

Don't let the lack of a pudding mold stop you. There are many substitute methods described in the accompanying article with this recipe.

BONUS: Here’s a recipe from Yankee Magazine for a Brown Bread Muffin.  Same ingredients, except it adds an egg, and much quicker than the long steaming process for the real deal Brown Bread.


Third Birthday of Family Stories–The Numbers,The Names,

Ancestors in Aprons is growing up. April 27, 2016 marks three years of telling family stories. That’s me at three, with my mother. Beginning genealogists are advised, start with what you know, what you can learn from your parents, and grandparents and go back from there.

Mother and me

VMB and Harriette Kaser circa 1942

First Family Stories: Grandma Vera

Herbert Anderson and family.

Guy Anderson and Vera (holding Herbert). Guy’s mother Mary Brink Anderson. Back Jennie McDowell King. 1909

I started Ancestors in Aprons with a tribute to my grandmother, Vera Stout Anderson, my namesake. That’s grandma in the picture below, holding me. You can see her on the same day in the picture at the top of the page, just to the right of my grandpa Leonard Guy Anderson. Surprisingly, Grandma is not wearing an apron in this 1940 picture from Anderson’s restaurant.

Grandma Vera and little Vera

Two Veras. Grandma Vera Anderson holding me at about one year old. 1940














Later I wrote about her surprising statement to me one time which led to discovery of the “lost love” of her youth, not long after this high school graduation picture was taken.

Vera Anderson 1899

Vera Anderson 1899, the year she graduated from Killbuck High School.








And of course you can read about her in the introduction to Ancestors and Aprons, about the Anderson Restaurant.

Vera Anderson (circa 1960)

Vera Anderson (circa 1960)

Then, there were the recipes that came to me in her own handwriting. The sugar cookies that I make every Christmas. The red pepper jam that I finally got up the courage to try.  And her picalilli and corn meal mush that I found recipes for, even though they were not her own handwritten recipe.

Goals of Ancestors in Aprons.

  • My general goal is to trace each line (paternal and maternal in each case) back to the first person to arrive in North America.
  • The gold standard is to be able to tell the family stories about each ancestor.
  • I want to  pass on the family stories told to me, and the family stories hinted at by photos, letters and heirlooms, and the stories gathered by other people with my grandchildren and great-grand children.
  • I  almost always start  with the ancestors nearest the present and moving back through the paternal line with only a mention of wives, and then circle back to trace the grandmother’s stories.
  • Then, of course, there is  food.   I hope to fill in some blanks in the lives of the ancestors by putting a vintage recipe into context, explaining cooking methods and fads and fashions in food.

By The Numbers

1241 says I have 1,241 people in my tree.  Not all of those people are “people” yet. A birth date, death date and place of birth does not a person make. Family stories bring them alive. Some of those names on the tree are just names, and some are unconfirmed names.

30 and 12

However, the direct line (Called pedigree in genealogy-speak) is somewhat more important. There I have four generations (30 people) on the way to completion (starting the count with my parents), and I can trace half of the additional 16 great-great-grandparents back further–a couple as far as ten, eleven and twelve generations–all on my mother’s side.

347 and 90

To tell the family stories, I have published 347 posts. In order to tell the stories through the foods are ancestors were eating. I have tested and shared 90 recipes. Some that were already family favorites (like Perfect Pie Crust or Corn Meal Mush),some that have become family favorites,  some that were contributed by relatives (like Badertscher Banana Bread or Norma Kaser’s Spiced Pecans ), some that nobody is going to want to cook today (like Civil War Hardtack).

The Challenges

Pau; Kaser 1940s

Paul Kaser 1940s


My father (KASER/BUTTS) has been more challenging. Although I have been able to get back to their entry into the United States in the mid-18th century, I don’t have the rich details that I have with my mother’s ancestors. The Butts family has been thoroughly researched, but the Kaser line (my maiden name) resists easy research.


Guy Anderson in restaurant

Guy Anderson in restaurant, Killbuck, 1940

Likewise, although I have lots of great stories from my grandmother’s female line, my research into ANDERSON, my maternal grandfather’s  line (and thus my mother’s maiden name) has hit a brick wall due to the common names Joe Anderson and John Anderson, so numerous in Pennsylvania.



When I moved from telling the easy-to-come-by family stories, and started doing the research to track other relatives  I found many surprises. Some of them I not only had not heard of, but I had not even realized that surname was part of my ancestry.

Some Family Names

Mother and Grandmother were so proud of having a Pilgrim ancestor (BASSETT) that they overlooked the exciting 17th century immigration story of my Grandmother’s father’s family (STOUT) including shipwreck and capture by Indians.

As so often happens in genealogy, whole big hunks of the family history never got mentioned. When naming my heritage, mother always reeled off “English, Scots-Irish and German.” I’ve added Dutch to that list. Right now, I’m working on my grandfather (Vera’s husband) and his mother’s line.   I know that there is a very rich history stretching back to Holland on his mother’s mother’s side (MIDDAUGH/MEDDAUGH ).  I THINK that her father’s line (BRINK) is also from Holland, but so far I can not prove it.

I also looked at my husband, Ken’s (BADERTSCHER/AMSTUTZ/TSCHANTZ) ancestors who mostly arrived in the late 19th century, and uncovered a big surprise.  His ancestors, we knew were all Swiss.  Turned out they weren’t. There was a big German contingent (BAIR) as well.

Favorite Subjects

My personal favorites:  The Letters of Pvt. Erasmus Anderson and of Pvt. Henry Butts from the Civil War, and my current series on family members in politics. But my favorite reading of all, is reading the comments from YOU. I am so delighted when a new relative drops by and shares more information. Ancestors in Aprons is a Meeting Ground.

The reader’s favorites: In a word–FOOD.  OF the top twenty most read articles, the top three are  Civil War Rations–Hardtack and O.B. Joyful,

Vintage Family Restaurant: The Dalton Darriette (by Kay Badertscher)

Perfect Pie Crust

You also enjoyed reading about some of my ancestors. Naughty Pilgrims–some of my Bassett ancestors, and took the bait of the title “Joseph the Carpenter”, about my great-grandfather Joseph Kaser, and read about my “Daddy Guy”, Guy Anderson and his rules for life.

Who Are My People? What Have I Learned?

My ancestors did not come to the United States via Ellis Island, or gaze up at the Statue of Liberty as they arrived.  I have been amazed to learn that nearly all my roots (on my mother’s and my fathers’ sides) extend back to before the United States was a nation.

They came with the Pilgrims, or with the slightly later wave of German or Scots-Irish immigrants. They moved ever westward–from New England or Pennsylvania or New York. Many of my ancestors were early settlers in the Ohio Territory, arriving before Ohio became a state, or just afterwards.

Some became big frogs in their small ponds, but none were hugely famous. Most were farmers, except for the women in some families who were educated before most women ventured into books. Many were teachers.

They were here when Indian wars were still raging. The men fought in the Civil War for the North, although their hearts were not always in the fight. At least one was involved in the Spanish-American war, and Ken and I both had relatives engaged in World Wars I and II.

They carved farms out of wilderness, built roads over animal trails, settled where the Canals and Railroads and Highways would bring more people. They participate in town government, and are involved in civic betterment. They built new churches, and helped their relatives from Europe resettle in the new land. The most adventurous headed west when gold was discovered, when wagon trains wound over mountains, or railroad lines made travel easier.


Thank you to the relatives who have contributed articles and recipes. Great gratitude to my mother and father for telling their stories and my brother for recording many of them. More gratitude to my grandmother and great-grandmother who saved so many pictures and heirlooms from the past that help tell the stories. Thank you for reading and adding your thoughts in the comments.