Books and bakes #9: The Dictionary of Lost Words and cream tea scones

The bake

Before the pandemic, I used to go for afternoon tea every few months with a group of friends. Since we haven’t been able to do that for the past year, I decided to bake my own scones to enjoy (I haven’t made any finger sandwiches yet, but I’ve had the occasional mimosa…and, well, I drink tea every day). I’ve made these cream tea scones from King Arthur Baking a few times during the pandemic, and they always satisfy my craving. I don’t have any clotted cream to serve with them, but I like to halve them and add a dollop of strawberry jam. And of course the scones are best served warm.

The book

When I was trying to decide what book to start this weekend, I had a bit of difficulty. I started a couple of books I’d taken out from the library, but I just couldn’t get into them. Then I picked up The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams. I’ve had an ARC for a few weeks and have wanted to get to it, but book club picks and library holds kept knocking its place down in the TBR pile. Now that I have started it, I am pleased to report that this novel has enraptured me. The story takes place in late-1800s and early 1900s in Oxford, England, where Esme, the daughter of a lexicographer, grows up spending her days in the Scriptorium, a room where her father and other dictionary editors sort through slips of submissions for the first Oxford English Dictionary. When Esme sees one of the editors drop one of the slips without noticing, she snatches it up. So begins her collection of words that she keeps hidden, locked away in a trunk. I’m about a quarter of the way through, so I guess things could change, but so far this is looking like a real gem of a book.