Happy Birthday Charles Dickens! It’s your 200th. And even though you lived long ago and wrote about what was happening back then, in the 19th century, what you had to say still seems fresh, new and relevant today.

You spoke out for social justice. You showed how unfairly balanced your society was between the haves and the have-nots. You wrote about how poor children were made to work and beg. And your stories portrayed how people can speak in high moral tones about “good values” and yet be mean-spirited and behave like brutes.

It rings true even now, in the 21st century.

I raise my tea cup to you. 

And for anyone who loves the writings of Charles Dickens, here’s a recipe for scones to go with that tea, a fitting way to celebrate the birthday of the great English master storyteller.


2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teasoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon grated fresh lemon peel

6 tablespoons butter

1 large egg

1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon peel in a bowl. Add the butter in chunks and work into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Mix the egg and buttermilk together in a bowl. Pour into the flour mixture. Mix into a soft, uniform dough. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 1/2-inch. Cut out circles with a cookie cutter. Place the circles on the cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the scones are browned and well risen. (You can also cut the dough in half, roll each half to 1/2-inch thickness and cut each into 6 wedges, for triangular shape scones). Makes about 12