Mistake of Consequence and Scottish Oat Scones!

Foodie Lit: A genre of novel and memoirs filled with food stories and recipes

Each month, I’ll share the magic of a good foodie lit read and one of its recipes. Cooking and recipes in books take us into the mind of the character or narrator and brings us into the book’s kitchen to see, smell and share the lives within.

Or I’ll take a good read and, with the author, find a recipe to pair with it! Either way, here’s to cooking and reading together!

Susan is the indieBrag Food Blogger

      A Mistake of Consequence    

Terri Evert Karsten

Life was so much harder in 1754 in the American Colonies than it is today.  This was very true for Callie, kidnapped and sold as an indentured servant.  Callie thinks she is going to be free when she escapes her grandfather’s matchmaking, but instead is dumped unceremoniously into the hold of a ship bound for Philadelphia in the American Colonies. Transforming from an upper class young woman in Edinburgh, Scotland to that of an unwilling indentured servant gives her no rights, no escape and little hope for improvement. “Some mistakes are minor, forgotten the next day. Others are calamitous, disrupting the whole patter of life. Mine were of the second sort,” Callie thinks.

Callie is frustrated, imprisoned on the ship on its way to Philadelphia.  Her stubbornness keeps her going during the long, difficult voyage. “Grandfather always said nothing could keep me down for long and in that at least, he was right.”

Terri Evert Karsten wrote to me, “Callie’s stubbornness definitely gets in her way frequently, but that same tenacity also serves her well in driving her to keep going and not give up. Actually I have found my own stubbornness/ tenacity the same sort of double-edged sword. It can get in the way of rational decisions, and make it terribly hard to compromise, but it can also provide the drive to accomplish goals.”

In this historical romance set in 1754, Terri has a serious look at freedom. She told me, “In her Grandfather’s home, Callie is free from want, her needs being met easily, but she is not free in her choices. Most women (and even most men) of this time period did not expect to have the freedom to choose, whether it was a job, a spouse, or a place to live.”  Yet on board the ship there is no one to monitor her behavior or, on the other hand, to care about her. As an indentured servant she has freedom of movement but she must obey her master and the work is grueling, the food limited and the clothing inadequate. “Of course, no one in the 18th century had the kind of freedom we think about today,” Terri commented.

Not all is grim, with a romantic captain, heroic rescues and for Callie, choosing the shape of the boundaries she will accept.

Food is a hidden topic throughout the book. After leaving her grandfather’s house, Callie is frequently hungry, given poor quality food during her indenture. No doubt, she would dream of delicacies from her home days in Scotland—scones would be a dreamed of breakfast or for tea in 1754 and today.  Here’s is Terri’s recipe.


Terri’s Scottish Oat Scones

Terri shares her recipe and her thoughts. “All through the novel, Callie wants to return to Scotland. Surely she would long for a taste of home. (And so would Davy.) One recipe she would enjoy is Scottish Oat Scones, which were first mentioned in print in the early 1500’s. 

Of course, Callie wouldn’t have had baking powder. She would have had to use some yeast as leavening (or her own levain). Also, early scones were often wedges of a bigger round. They may have been baked on a griddle instead of in an oven. These scones make a great breakfast, especially served with streaky bacon.  They are also great with a good cup of tea for an afternoon snack. “

Yields 10
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup uncooked rolled oats (old-fashioned, not quick)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 cup currants or raisins

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Combine dry ingredients. Add the butter, milk and egg. Stir in the raisins or currents.
  3. Drop about 1/4 c. onto greased baking sheet, and flatten into about a 4″ in diameter circle. Place each round about an inch apart.  Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

(Adapted from Quaker Oats)

Terri Evert Karsten


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