If you ask some people that have met me, I have an accent…but I don’t believe I do. I think I talk pretty normal – especially compared to most of our neighbors and people that grew up in this area. I can’t say our town name the way everyone else does and probably never will. It’s just how it is.
But growing up, I always wished for an accent. Not just any accent, though. I wanted a British or Scottish or French or something else European and exotic sounding. Growing up in Virginia didn’t leave me with very much mystery in that department.
What is it with accents? Is it just the fact that it’s something different and new? A reminder that the world is bigger than we let ourselves believe? It’s fascinating to listen to someone speaking in a way that you don’t hear on a daily basis – romantic, even, in the sense that it feels brand new, even when we’ve heard that accent before – it removes the mundane, the routine, the boring of our days and lets in a little mystery.
When I was in college, I had a friend from Edinburgh and I loved listening to him talk. No matter what he said, it just sounded so much cooler than anything else I was hearing around campus. Especially since most of the kids at my school were from Arkansas and Texas.
While we were hanging out one night with friends, Ewan and I came up with the perfect business plan to have in Scotland. We would move there after college and open up a coffee shop called The White Mocha (my favorite drink at the time) and we would also run Lochness Monster viewing tours with our own party boat.
We had the perfect scheme planned out: customers would come to the shop, get their coffee and some baked goods, and then I would head on out the boat with them for a trip to try to see Nessie. Ewan, to help give the customers their money’s worth, would be in the water with an oxygen tank and an outfit that had spikes and scales on the back to look like the Lochness Monster. He’d show up somewhere in the water – far enough away from the boat that everyone think it was really Nessie, but close enough to get pictures – everyone would be excited, and then I’d head back to the coffee shop with a ship full of happy new friends who would sit around the shop for hours telling and retelling the story of seeing Nessie that day.
And, of course, I’d have finally picked up my own accent to join in the storytelling fun.
Since that (obviously) hasn’t happened, maybe I’ll just work on my accent by myself.
Do you think the Scots eat biscotti? Because I think these little cookies would be perfect to have alongside some steaming coffee, a roaring fire, and an afternoon of exaggerated sea monster tales.
White Chocolate Dipped Meyer Lemon and Almond Biscotti
Makes: about 2 dozen biscotti
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 3 Tbsp grated meyer lemon zest
- 1 Tbsp meyer lemon juice
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1 and 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt together.
- In another bowl, beat the sugar and eggs until the mixture is pale yellow, about 3-4 minutes. Mix in the almond extract, lemon zest, lemon juice, and then the flour mix, and beat until just blended. Stir in the almonds
- Divide the dough evenly into 2 equal pieces and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Wet your hands and space the dough evenly apart, forming them into 2 logs.
- Bake the dough for 35 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Cool for 5 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices. Arrange the biscotti cut side down on the same baking sheet.
- Bake again until the cookies are pale golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler until it’s completely smooth. Dip the end of each biscotti in the chocolate, then set the dipped biscotti on a wire rack or back on the baking sheet, until the chocolate has hardened. Store in an airtight container.