Thursday, June 8

Scones for Margo

Margo Wood, an expert sailor with vast experience of this area has not only selected and advised our group on the most beautiful anchorages along this passage, but she has elevated her single-handed prowess to single-handedly schooling my behind in Scrabble. Which, I might add, is a great source of embarrassment to me. I come from a long line of serious Scrabble aficionados. Most notably is my grandmother who, at the age of 94, still holds her own. She is the reigning queen of words and Sunday mornings as a child I would find myself at her feet; she would play with my hair as she was filling in the New York Times Crossword Puzzle, often single-handedly.

I am no stranger to the wily smarts and savvy sportsmanship of older women.

But Margo, she pulled the old bait and switch on me with a coy, “oh…you look like a smart girl, I don’t know about playing you.” My confidence thus elevated we sat down to play my one and only board game on this trip.

I started off full of enthusiasm and for 10 minutes was beating her fairly convincingly. The first sign that I knew I was sunk was when I noted the incredible speed with which she lay down her tiles. I would sit there, 7-10 minutes ticking away, with – not that it helped me AT ALL – all the high count letters, including the x, z, q, k. She would feign taking a nap, sigh, harass and cajole me for being so slow. I would finally lay down my play, nothing impressive, hardly worth the wait. Before the board could even spin around, she was grabbing for her little letters. And not, mind you, for a play unrelated to mine. She would pin a tail on my words, crossing them with a double word score and then oh-so-innocently ask, “what’s the score now?”

She so broke down my confidence that I couldn’t even return her gaze. And then, even my letters followed suit and I was left staring helplessly at: O O U O I J O or maybe it was T U I O I O O. No matter, one of her last plays was laying down one letter where she scored 20 points. She beat me by 100.

I don’t owe her a thing, especially after this humiliation at sea. Nonetheless I offer up to her and you the lemon scones I made at sea that she loved so much. I learned how to make a version of this particular recipe from a B and B on Vancouver Island. And so it seemed only fitting that it should be dedicated to a fine Canadian and a most excellent Scrabble player.

Lemon Scones
Makes 8

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks butter (3/4 cup), unsalted, cubed
2 6-ounce containers lemon yogurt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon thyme or lemon balm, chopped

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and soda in a bowl and whisk to remove lumps. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or in the food processor until the butter is pea-size. Add the yogurt, lemon juice and lemon thyme or balm. Mix together gently with a spoon and then turn out onto a floured board. Form into a round as pictured above (about 3/4 inch tall) and then slice into 8 equal triangles. Bake until brown on top, about 12-14 minutes.


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