Moja

I found another hidden gem here in Dodoma, and I am so excited to tell you about it. However, I will say that I read over my last post (Rock Bun), and it came off a little…shall we say haughty. I’m afraid to say that I am bordering the line of being a scone snob, and that is not my intention. I appreciate all scones in whatever form and with whatever taste. So as per my kind friend’s suggestion that I “decolonize” my scones, from now on I will be sensitive to the scone-making culture of wherever I am and try not to use TPS as the absolute standard of comparison. On with the subject of the day.

The Crouton Scone.

I found this scone, again, walking around the market in Dodoma. But I have come to learn that the market where I’ve been walking around isn’t the main food market. It’s mostly a market for clothing and electronics (which I have noticed, but I continued going there for lack of any better place to shop). The real food market is just a little farther of a walk, but they have fruits and vegetables galore and, I imagine, baked goods. One of my colleagues drove by there and showed it to me, and it seems like a happening place so I’ve put that market at the top of my list of next destinations in Dodoma. (Also, side note about Dodoma: This process of someone telling me about something is generally the way knowledge is passed. There is really no way to know how to pay for your electric bill, how to call a taxi, where to find a grocery store, etc. without knowing someone who knows how things work in this city. So basically, if you come here and don’t know anyone, life can be really hard at first until you figure out how to survive, but if you know someone, you can temporarily use them as a crutch for all of the life things you need. All which is to say, thank you Dodoma colleagues.)

I ordered the Crouton Scone (not its given name but the name I gave it which will make sense in a second) by pointing to the scone and saying to the guy behind the counter (who clearly did not speak English), “Moja” which is Swahili for “one”. I felt pretty proud of myself for using my newly-learned Swahili until I realized that the guy didn’t understand what I said. So I just pointed to the scone with my one finger and then held that same finger up in the air to indicate ‘one’. At least I tried.

Anyways here it is, the crouton scone…

Tanzania Crouton Scone (1)

…whose name is evidenced by this next picture.

Tanzania Crouton Scone (7)

Now you all know that when I eat scones, I like to break them into bite-sized pieces and eat them piece by piece. Well, this is what happened when I tried to do that with the Crouton Scone. It actually hurt my fingers a little to break it (I know, my poor fingers). Clearly the Crouton Scone does not agree with my way of scone consumption.

Initial impression: It felt hard just like the rock bun (I can’t lie, I was periodically feeling the scone in the bag on my way back home), but the color looked great and there were even some sugar crystals on top.

Texture: In my previous post about the Rock Bun, I described the Rock Bun’s texture as hard without crossing the line of crispy or crunchy. The Crouton Scone crossed the line. It was almost exactly like the texture of a crouton, but with fewer air pockets so a little bit more difficult to bite. I eventually had to take bites into it because I couldn’t break off small pieces without sending an explosion of crumbs all over the floor (and I’ve already killed 3 humongous cockroaches since I’ve been here and am not eager to kill any more).

Taste: The taste was fairly scone-like though I couldn’t really get past the crunchiness. It wasn’t all too sweet which is how I imagine authentic scones taste. I think if it were less crunchy, it would taste really great with jam or butter.

Overall rating: 3/10 (if given a choice between the Rock Bun and the Crouton Scone, I think I would choose each one an equal number of times)

In other news, I will be traveling to Zanzibar (an island off the coast of Tanzania) this weekend, and I have discovered that they have scone-selling cafes!

Tutaonana, rafiki!

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To the head baker at the Chapel Hill Whole Foods,

Thank you for taking the time to read my mail. My name is Megan, and I grew up in Chapel Hill. I attended UNC-Chapel Hill for college, and I am currently getting my Masters in Public Health in Boston, MA. However, I still visit Chapel Hill at least a few times a year because my parents live there.

And lucky I am that I get to. I should start off by telling you that I am a scone lover. A lover of scones. And by that, I don’t mean just any scones; I mean your scones.

Your scones – cinnamon walnut, cranberry orange, and best of all, chocolate chip – are what initially piqued my interest in scones. Two years ago, I had no idea what scones were. I was always partial to baked goods, but had yet to discover the magic wonders of scones. Then occasionally, my mom would buy a scone from your store maybe once a week. My family liked them, so she began to buy them more frequently. Because she worked in Durham, she also bought the scones from the Durham Whole Foods, but we quickly realized that they were nowhere near as good. Now she buys them for me every time I come back to Chapel Hill meaning she meets me at the airport with one of your scones in tow.

Like I mentioned earlier, I have always loved making and tasting baked goods, but there is something about these scones that is out of this world. The sheer size of each scone may intimidate some people. Some may consume only half of the scone to compensate. For me, the size is perfect (and by that I mean, it’s the perfect size for me to have all to myself), and would only be made better if the scone were ever-expanding so I could eat this scone endlessly.

The best part is the rim around the edge that’s firm and crunchy but not crumbly. The wonderful thing about circular scones over triangular scones is that the edge part, the best part, continues on around the entire scone and is consistently good throughout. The equivalent part on triangular scones is the corner piece, and one can only enjoy 3 of these pieces until he/she must move on to the inferior edge-but-not-corner pieces.

My friends will attest to my obsession with scones. Every time I see a scone in a display case, I must buy it, no questions asked. In Boston, I have visited many cafes and bakeries and tasted a number of different scones, but no scone compares to yours. I have had friends deliver scones to me from bakeries outside of Boston, but no scone compares to yours. Around the country, I have visited many Whole Foods stores to taste their scones; but again, no scone compares to yours. I have even spoken to the head baker at a Whole Foods in Boston to see if I could unravel the secret behind these delicious scones that I could only find at the Chapel Hill Whole Foods. She informed me that all Boston Whole Foods had their scones delivered frozen from a manufacturing company and that the scones in the Chapel Hill Whole Foods were most likely locally made. Arriving at this dead end, I have settled with eating scones to my heart’s desire when I’m back in Chapel Hill and filling a pocket in my suitcase with scones when I travel back home to Boston so that I can enjoy them over time.

I have come to the conclusion that your scone will remain forever in my mind as The Perfect Scone (or TPS), and this is how I refer to it in my scone blog (www.sconesource.wordpress.com). No amount of butter or sugar can replicate the masterpiece that you have created here, and I applaud your baking ingenuity. Thank you for your magnificent culinary abilities and creativity. I can only hope that one day I can make scones as perfect as yours.

Sincerely yours,

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