Sunday, October 11, 2015

Battle Bread

click to enlarge

The one positive thing you could say about the bread products around him was that they were probably as edible now as they were on the day they were baked. Forged was a better term. Dwarf bread was made as a meal of last resort and also as a weapon and a currency. Dwarfs were not, as far as Vimes knew, religious in any way, but the way they thought about bread came close.
-- (Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant)

Having a good battle plan is essential as is the proper weapons.  Partner in Grime and I are both pretty competitive.  Weekend mornings, before making breakfast,  we play a round of backgammon on an antique board he found at Half Priced Books.  It sometimes gets pretty fierce, hands and dice moving in a flurry as both of us can strategize fairly quickly.  However, it's a battle best done when one is fully awake.
This morning I went to roll and realized my dice had gone AWOL

Check under the table.  Nothing.  Check around the table and chairs.  Nothing.  Look at Abby the Lab.  Asleep.

Partner looks at my empty dice cup and then grins and says "Did you put them in your coffee cup?"

Yup - I'll take my coffee black. . . with snake eyes.  With that - I figured it was time to make breakfast and scones seemed like the proper element post victory.

In the Discworld novel The Fifth Elephant -  a pivotal plot point is the theft of a dwarfen artifact called the Scone of Stone, a very well preserved bit of dwarfen battle bread that is used in their coronations. A parallel is drawn between the Scone of Stone and actual history, in that it is also broken and replicated.
The real Stone of Scone was also known as the Stone of Destiny or the Coronation Stone, an oblong block of red sandstone, about 26 x 16 inches (and over 330 pounds). At each end of the stone is an iron ring, for transport. Historically, the artifact was kept at the now-ruined abbey in Scone, near Perth, Scotland. It was used for centuries in the coronation of the monarchs of Scotland and later in England. One legend has that it was the pillow stone used by the Biblical Jacob. More believe, however, that it was the Coronation Stone of the early Dál Riata Gaels when they lived in Ireland, which they brought with them when settling Caledonia.
Eventually housed in Westminster Abbey, the stone was stolen by four college students in 1950 with the purpose of returning it to it's rightful home in Scotland. Their well intended larceny resulted in it being broken in two. Later repaired, it was returned to the Abbey though rumor persisted that what was returned was a duplicate copy made and the original was hidden in Scotland.The other reference I remember for it was the The Highlander TV series, that featured a humorous episode called The Stone of Scone where Duncan MacLeod, Amanda, and Hugh Fitzcairn were responsible for the 1950 theft.

The end of the episode implies that the authentic stone was left on a golf course in Scotland

Now that our history lesson is complete it's time for some not so durable scones, little ones made out of Kefir (a fermented milk drink you can find about anywhere) instead of buttermilk which made them VERY light and flaky and made with self rising flour so they mixed up in just minutes (recipe in comments).

Then, it's back to the battlefield.


  1. Easy Scones

    In medium bowl mix:

    2 cups Self Rising Flour (in the UK, known as "self raising")
    1/4 cup sugar
    5 Tablespoons of butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

    In small bowl whisk:
    1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon Kefir (or use buttermilk)
    splash of vanilla
    1 egg

    Mix wet and dry ingredients and stir with fork, JUST until holding together (it will look quite "shaggy")

    Place dough on cutting board that's been dusted with a little flour and knead about 10 times, just until the shaggy appearance is gone and it's smoother and holding together. Do NOT over-knead or you will have a brick on your hands.

    Pat only cookie sheet or pizza pan that's been sprayed with non stick spray into a 7-8 inch round (about 3/4 to an inch high). Cut into eight wedges, using the knife to separate the wedges by about 1/3 of an inch, just enough for some warm air to circulate.

    Bake in preheated 450 F. oven for 15-17 minutes

  2. ♫ There is nothing like a scone - nothing in the world! There is nothing you can name that is anything like a scone! ♫
    Or a dame...


  3. didn't I hear something about the stone being taken back to Scotland a number of years back and so the next coronation of an English Monarch will not be done with the stone in place?

    I am probably getting my stories mixed up with one another, as I am a pretty good student of American history, while a terrible one of English history. But it does seem to ring some bells. Maybe that is just the empty space inside of my head!

    On a different note, just want to let you know I still appreciate the good job you do sharing with us. Your diverse writings are fun to read.

    Also, I am of Scottish decent, my original family landing on the east coast, and being disinterred(sp?) because of an old legend. The legend went that the patriarch was nearly 7 feet tall and the matriarch was less than 5 feet tall. From what I understand, this proved to be the case. I have not seen the actual documents from this, but my sister has.
    Our family name has been Americanized since hitting these shores, but I am still proud of my heritage, from my fathers side, as well as my Germanic heritage on my mothers side. The events of the 20th century not withstanding, until the first world war, most American students studied the German language in school, not Spanish. It is more closely linked with English. And the German people, for the most part, again excepting for the sorrowful events of the wars, are a great people. Hard working, inventive, loving.
    I am sorry I got off on a tangent. I just went back and read it and I am not going to erase it. I think if events that occurred in Germany had occurred in many other countries, things could have turned out the same way. People are the same no matter where you go.

    I am sorry, sometimes I get going and don't know when to stop. Must have had too much bad coffee today.

  4. FYI...the Stone is now kept in Edinburgh Castle. I highly recommend a visit. Go in August; tour the castle by day, return in the evening for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.


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