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<   No. 3889   2018-12-11   >

Comic #3889

1 Simon: Ah, morning tea. The timeless ritual that underpins all major advances in British physics.
2 Simon: Observe the tea lady enter with the tea trolley. Laden with hot tea, scones with jam and cream, and biscuits prime for dunking.
3 Simon: She has observed more paradigm shifting, world changing arguments between physicists than almost anyone else.
4 Professor 3: No, the cream goes on top of the jam!
4 Professor 1: You moron! Only a many worlds hypothesiser would put the jam on the scone first!

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Devonshire tea (as it's known in Australia, and thus my own usage) or cream tea as it's more commonly known in England, is the source of one of the major controversies of the modern age. Namely: whether to put the jam and cream on the scones in that order, or the reverse order.

As with all traditions, the way you do it yourself is unassailably correct, and anyone who does it differently is clearly wrong.

Personally, I put the jam on first and then dollop the cream on top, as I find spreading jam on top of the cream to be more difficult than spreading it directly onto the scone. I suppose you could dollop the jam on top of the cream rather than spreading it, but I like only a relatively small amount of jam and dolloping a small amount is difficult, and also - obviously and more importantly - that would clearly be wrong.


The real Dr Simon Beard, of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at Cambridge, writes:

In the UK, the tradition is that the distinction between cream first and jam first scone construction is fundamentally geographical. First jam and then cream is the 'Cornish' method, whilst first cream and then jam is the 'Devon' method. This is useful as it handily subsumes this thorny issue into a long-running and intractable war - rather as if saying 'the data is' or 'the data are' could simply be subsumed into whether one was PC or Mac. Personally I do not appear to be descended from anyone in either county. However, I have friends who live in Cornwall, so I am fanatically Jam first like you.

My own pet theory, however, has long been that this disagreement should be closely correlated with all the other major tea time sources of potential nuclear war:

I have long felt that these tensions could be more easily mitigated if the world could simply resolve itself into the [jam first, long o, milk second, cake] faction and the [cream first, short o, milk first, biscuit] faction and we could simply agree never to talk to one another ever again. By my calculations, this would reduce the annual probability of human extinction by as much as 0.00005.

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