“You’re so New York!” my sister blurted out to me as we chatted away on the phone, the other day.
“What?!” I replied, with some hostility.
“You sound SO New York, now” she guffawed down the phone, with a level of obnoxiousness that only a sibling can deliver.
And so the conversation continued with whys? And whats? And what exactlys? For some reason the hairs on my arm, now standing to attention, were reason enough to need to defend myself.
After hanging up the phone, now in a less than convivial mood, I sought out my work colleagues to affirm whether or not they agreed with this beastly statement. I was answered with laughter as they carried on with their work- which I took to mean ‘the girl couldn’t be more British if she tried’, and this pleased me greatly.
I’ve spent so much of my life trying to fit in wherever I am and have a proneness for dabbling in extreme anti-appearing-as-a-tourist-measures. Before I’d even moved to New York I’d found an A to Z (city map) equivalent, called an NFT (not for tourists) which, obviously appealed to my life’s pursuit. After two weeks of living in Manhattan I was chuffed because people were asking me for directions in the street. “I must look like a real local”, I gloated to my mother down the phone. So, one would think that I would lap up this comment that my sister made- but it left an offensive odour in the atmosphere, like when people don’t clean up after their dog who just shat outside your house. Not because I don’t like it here, or because it would be so bad to be a New Yorker. It’s just that it’s rather favourable to be British in New York, I have no desire to hyphenate my nationality and lets face it, it’s not so cool to be an American these days.
The air did not clear once I’d hung up the phone. On the subway platform that evening I found myself barging onto the train with all the other passengers- forgetting my British manners, which would have let the people off the train first. The next day, I dropped my laundry off to be washed and folded for pennies, I drank coffee in a paper cup, bought a dozen bagels, yelled abuse at someone who tried to steal my cab and tipped my waitress 20% at dinner. Maybe I was SO New York, after all!
So, it came as a pleasant surprise that when I went to a Doctors appointment over the weekend, the nurse cooed to me: “I just love your accent. Can you just stay and talk to me all day.” The air had cleared. I smiled the smile of sweet glorious victory that only a sibling can. And if my sister was, as I suspect, only referring to a change in my accent- lets face it, if I really was “SO New York” I would have yelled back down the phone “Get da fock outta here!”
I’m SO British Scones
These scones are light and so quick to make and they freeze beautifully. This recipe makes about ten mini scones but you can easily double or triple it- and if you like them sweeter then just add more sugar. I eat mine with cheddar cheese and raspberry preserves or with clotted cream and fresh strawberries.
225g/8 oz self-raising flour (if you live in America, use half cake flour, half plain flour and 2 tsp of baking powder)
½ tsp salt
50g/2 oz butter
1 tbsp caster sugar
150ml/ ¼ pint milk, plus extra to glaze
1/ Preheat the oven to 220C/425 F/Gas 7. If you are using a convection/fan oven drop the temperature 25 degrees. Flour a baking sheet.
2/ Sift the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar. Make a well in the flour and gradually pour in most of the milk, mixing quickly with a knife as you pour. DO NOT ADD ALL THE MILK AT ONCE. You should get a soft but not wet dough. It should look scraggly.
3/ On a lightly floured board, gently bring together the dough and roll or press out until it’s 2.5cm/1 inch thick and stamp out into rounds. I used a 2.5cm/1inch cutter and made 10 rounds. In between each stamp, dip the cutter in flour and with a firm shake downwards release the scone directly onto the baking sheet- try not to press with your fingers or you will mishape the dough. It is also important to cut directly down into the dough, if you twist then they will rise unevenly.
4/ Place on the baking sheet and brush with extra milk. Depending on size bake for 15-20 minutes, or until risen and golden.