Raisin Scones in Kabul: A Message from Nell and Inspiration for Hesitant Bakers

So you’ll understand the reference to Mummy, you should know that Nell is the daughter of my friend, Laura Shapiro, author of a perfect biography of Julia Child.  Nell’s a student at Harvard and she’s spending the summer in Afghanistan.

Dear Dorie, this is Nell here, writing from lovely Afghanistan! (Second only to Paris, I am sure. And they have an “Eiffel Tower” here, to boot. Long story.) I wanted to send you this e-mail a couple of days ago but I didn’t know your e-mail address, so I had to write to Mummy and ask her. Better late than never:


Bonjour Dorie, I hope this message finds you well and happy in the summertime. Mummy says you have been absolutely crazy-busy these days trying to get all the recipes together for your new book.

Thought this might make you happy: I just made your DELICIOUS raisin scones (a la Parade Magazine) right here in my kitchen in Kabul, Afghanistan! No measuring cups, no reliable oven heat, totally generic ingredients, not even foil to cover the baking sheets — hell, not even proper baking sheets! — and the scones turned out absolutely PERFECT.

All this to say that if your recipes can survive my kitchen here, they can survive anywhere. And I’m going to try out your frittata for brunch tomorrow.

Lots and lots of love,


and a big P.S. — I made your fantastic frittata the following morning, and it (I added some rosemary and thyme) plus the scones were a wild hit with all of my hungry housemates in Kabul. Next up: maybe a yogurt cake from when you were posting in France. The yogurt here is tasty, tangy, cheap, abundant — like I said, Kabul and Paris have gotta be sister cities. Love, N.


Nell sent me another message later in the day in which she described how bare-bones her kitchen is, making her accomplishment even more marvelous, in the true sense of the word.  After reading Nell’s messages, I thought of the many people who tell me they’re afraid of baking and want advice.  Now I’ve got an answer for them:

Got the baking jitters?  Just think of Nell and forge ahead!

Dorie Greenspan