A Brief History of Scones

Kristin Zipprich is a student at Christopher Newport University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in Galway, Ireland.

Scones became a quick favorite of mine in Ireland. There are a plethora of bakeries that serve scones, and some even ask if you want the scone heated up first; to this, you always respond yes. However, I did not know that the word for the delicious pastry could be pronounced in two different ways: scone can rhyme with both ‘gone’ and ‘tone,’ which is a bit confusing if you are just trying to order one so you can eat it in peace. Luckily for you, if you travel to Ireland, I can tell you they pronounce scone the way ‘tone’ is pronounced; the other pronunciation is favored by two-thirds of the British population, and ninety-nine percent of the Scottish population.

The original scone could be as big as a medium-sized plate; now, scones have been sized-down slightly, but I have still come across some large scones. The one below, from CoCo Cafe, is the largest scone I have had so far.

The Scottish are credited with the creation of the scone, but thankfully the pastries were soon included at tea time in England and in bakeries and cafes in Ireland. They are a popular pastry with tea or on their own. There are plain scones, current scones, and even some with blueberries, such as the one below.

In America, bread seems to never run out; think Panera Bread, which has a seemingly endless amount of bread and pastries left over at the end of the work day. Here in Ireland, the scones are always fresh but are not available in unlimited quantities. This method is far less wasteful, but it means you have to get to a cafe early to snag a scone!

Next time you eat a scone, no matter how you pronounce it, don’t forget to take the time to appreciate the history of the delectable treat.


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