Melanie has new communication skills. George is now doing video production. Sigfried and Dominique have updated their profiles. Sam, Susan and someone from Albania have endorsed my skills – whatever they are. I know all about this, even if I don’t know or even remember who these people are, because I am part of an online community called LinkedIn.
Actually, community is too much of a word. We don’t really commune. It is more like an information exchange, the type of notice board that used to be a regular feature of my neighbourhood supermarket.
It reminded me that what I really need is a neighbourhood online cooking forum. I’d like to know what Karla up the street is cooking for dinner. Or that Theo has an extra cup of all-purpose flour I could get right now. This has happened: Our neighbour across from us once called and said she had some friends over and could she borrow a bottle of wine. We were happy to oblige and received the same kind of wine back a few days later with a box of freshly baked scones.
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Unitarian Church of Montreal
Recently our downstairs neighbours seemed at loose ends for dinner. I said that I was going out for a couple of hours but could provide a large fish from our freezer. We thought we could do a two-family meal if they would cook the fish. Of course, a friend to whom I told this story warned me that if I give them a fish, they will never learn to fish themselves. Still, the dinner was very nice and I really didn’t want to be served a fish freshly caught from water flowing through Montreal.
No, instead of LinkedIn, what I could use is CookedIn. A real community—maybe stretching over a block or two—where I could find out if someone had an extra chair for dinner or get a recipe that includes, let’s say, an avocado and a quart of peanut butter. I would check in just before dinner time and might see an update like: “Just had a great idea about what to do with leftover fruit cake” or “I bought too many hot dogs at Costco—want some?” or “Sheryl has a home and school meeting—can someone feed her husband, her 6-year-old or her dog?”
Then there would be the skill endorsements. “Maria makes a mean lasagna.” “See Charles if you need extra serving spoons.” “Jason’s stove has a wok burner—good to know.”
Yes, CookedIn would be far more useful than LinkedIn. There should be an app-etite for that.
The Best Scones In The World
Our friend Lisa has a delicious scone recipe from her mom. I like to think it is a great example of how CookedIn could work. Here is a treasured recipe passed from one person to another. Lisa calls it Karen’s scones … best in the world! They are very good.
Preheat the oven to 450F.
Mix together 4 cups of flour, a half-cup of white sugar, 7 tsp of baking powder and 1 tsp of salt. Add in a quarter cup of raisins or mixed fruit.
Using a pastry blender, cut in 1/3 of a cup of shortening. Make a well in the centre and add 1 egg that has been mixed into enough milk to make a total of 2 cups of liquid. Mix and knead this lightly to make a soft dough.
A note about the kneading: Although Karen’s recipe says to roll out the dough, Lisa says it can be quite sticky and that she usually ends up dumping the whole mess on a floured surface and putting flour on her hands / sprinkling it on the dough to get it to form. Then she presses it out into a large rectangle about 1-inch thick. She warns overdoing it makes tough scones.
Whether you roll it out or press it, cut the dough into scone shapes: squares, triangles or somewhat roundish. Brush the tops with a mixture made of a little more milk and sugar. Place the scones on a greased baking sheet and bake it in the middle of the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes. Serve warm with butter and jam.