Tuesday 3 May 2011

Hem, Hem...

While the royal wedding was at the forefront of people’s minds, CNN did a story on a recipe that Queen Elizabeth sent to President Eisenhower. 

Apparently the Eisenhowers had had tea with the queen while in London, and she served them scones made from her own recipe.  Mamie liked the scones so much that she requested the recipe, which the queen duly mailed together with a hand written letter explaining how to amend the recipe with different quantities and ingredients. 

The CNN reporter expressed surprise that the queen would roll up her sleeves and get busy in the kitchen but, really, when you think about it, it makes sense that she would have some basic cooking skills.  You have but to look at her upbringing to know the reason.

Queen Elizabeth was a teenager during the Second World War.  Although it would have been much safer for the royal family to move to Balmoral for the duration of the hostilities, King George and Queen Mary chose to stay in London.  They did so to show solidarity with their subjects, who were enduring terrible hardships during the Blitz.

The royal family’s commitment to being “the people’s monarchs” extended into their private life as well.  King George and Queen Mary strove to provide their daughters what was by royal standards a fairly ordinary upbringing.  Thus it was that both Elizabeth and Margaret were introduced to the basic domestic sciences.  They learned to be good plain cooks and, apparently, Elizabeth enjoyed cooking well enough to continue doing so from time to time even after she became queen.

I would dearly love to see the recipe that Queen Elizabeth sent to the Eisenhowers—apparently it makes a good quantity of scones, asking for 4 teacupfuls of flour—but since I cannot, I’ll have to content myself with the recipes I have on hand.  I think cream scones with cranberries and orange zest will be wonderful for breakfast tomorrow.

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