Butter, Flour and Milk

The following is another speech I wrote and delivered at my Toastmasters Club. 

The (speech) project was How To Say It, the fourth project in the Competent Communicator manual, the first speech manual members are asked to complete.


Butter, Flour and Milk – Three ingredients that most people can find in their kitchen.  Three simple ingredients that by themselves are plain and boring to say the least.  Lacking interest and almost unappealing, yet when blended together in a gentle dance of love and tenderness, they create a little parcel of sumptuous delight that most find completely irresistible.

Mr Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters and distinguished guests, today I will walk you through combining those three ingredients to create that tried and true tradition of the Country Women’s Association know as – the scone.

All it takes is Butter, Flour and Milk.

– ⋅ o ♥ o ⋅ –

Just image you are standing at your kitchen bench.  In front of you are a cup of milk, a bag of self-raising flour and a small dish that you have just removed from the refrigerator containing 60 grams of butter that you have cut into tiny little cubes.

You have a generous bowl into which you have sifted two cups of flour, a baking tray and a 5 centimetre biscuit cutter.   Oddly enough, the only other item you have is a bread and butter knife.

Incorporating the elegance of a waltz and the quick tempo of the jive, lets begin our dance.

Before doing anything else, turn the oven on to 200 degrees Celsius.  You must allow the heat to permeate every corner.  This will ensure your scones rise to the occasion.

Sprinkle the butter cubes over the flour in the bowl and using only the tips of your fingers, gentle caress them together.  You know you have used the wrong part of your fingers if you get flour on the palms of your hands.

Feel the chill of the butter raise those little hairs on your arms and the contrast it makes against the slight grittiness of the flour.  Before long they will form into breadcrumbs.  That’s enough rubbing.

Gently move the mixture away from the centre of the bowl and pour in only ¾ of the milk.  Working quickly use the bread and butter knife to gently combine the milk and flour mixture and transform them into a crumbly dough that just starts to come together.  You’ll know if you need the rest of the milk.

Scatter a handful of flour across the bench and gently up-end the bowl.  Before you touch the dough, remember you are making a delicate little parcel and so far you have done everything possible to keep the air trapped.  Don’t go beating it out now.  Using only your fingertips, gently pat the dough into a 2 centimetre thick round and cut out the scones and place them onto the baking tray.

Leave a little room between each scone.  In much the same way that you have a comfort zone, your scones have their own comfort zone where they perform in an anxiety-neutral state.

Being gentle, make scone like shapes out of the remaining dough.  You should have 10 or 12 scones in total.

– ⋅ o ♥ o ⋅ –

Like a rush of hot air from a blast furnace, feel the explosion of heat on your face and neck as you open the oven door and slide the tray in.  Quickly close the door and set the timer to 12 minutes.

If you wear glasses like I do, those minuscule droplets of condensation that just formed on your lenses leave you firmly entrenched in a visually impaired dimension that injects you will the pleasurable thrill of adrenaline.  Oh yeah!

While your scones are in the oven, put the kettle on, throw a lace cloth over the dining room table and layout plates, knives, napkins and most importantly the strawberry jam and whipped cream.

– ⋅ o ♥ o ⋅ –

Can you smell that?

Before long a tantalising aroma begins to escape the oven tormenting your taste buds.  Suddenly the oven timer goes off like a chain saw dissecting your Sunday morning serenity and you simple cannot ignore it.  Feel your heart pounding with anticipation as you peek through the glass door of the oven.

Sometimes an extra 2 or 3 minutes is needed, however you will know when your little parcels of delight are ready.  The oven will have blessed them with a magnificent golden glow like the first rays of the sun and they will have overcome their shy nature and be all huddled together.

Don’t disturb their blissful existence.  Wrap them in a clean tea towel to keep the snug and warm like a new babe in a bunny rug, the go ahead and smile – you’ve just created something of a joy to behold from three simple ingredients – Butter, Flour and Milk.

– ⋅ o ♥ o ⋅ –

This recipe was bestowed upon me by my mother.  Granted the first time she made scones, our back yard chickens would not eat them.  Yet my mother would not give up, she persevered and mastered the dance and became somewhat of a scone celebrity.

When making scones you need to remember only three things:

Use three ingredients – Butter, Flour and Milk.

Employ three tips – use butter, use your fingertips, and use a knife.

Measure using 3, 2, 1 – 3 tablespoons of butter, 2 cups of flour and 1 cup of milk.

And finally, my advice – don’t give up particularly if your first batch isn’t as successful as you wished.  Each time you repeat the dance, you begin to learn the steps and will fall into the correct rhythm.

And remember, all it takes are three simple ingredients:

Butter, Flour and Milk.


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