some yummy oat scones from elliot’s extraordinary cookbook

Though I’m a longtime Christina Björk and Lena Anderson fan (they’re the Swedish author and illustrator team who created Linnea in Monet’s Garden and Linnea’s Almanac, among many others), I didn’t know about Elliot’s Extraordinary Cookbook (1990) until just recently.

Why didn’t you tell me? You know how nuts I am about illustrated cookbooks. 🙂

I snatched up a like-new copy and swooned over every page of this thoroughly charming and delightful book, which is narrated by Linnea’s neighbor Elliot, quite likely the most enthusiastic young cook ever to bake a potato or scramble an egg.

It all begins when Elliot locks himself out of his apartment and meets his neighbor Stella Delight, a kind widow and former ship’s cook who invites him to wait upstairs at her place.

Elliot’s hungry, but all Stella has on hand is a bag of potatoes — to him, not much, but to her, the potential for a feast. She cooks up a delicious batch of potato pancakes and proceeds to tell Elliot all about spuds — how to properly boil them, a little about their history and nutritional value, and of course she shares more potato recipes. Soon Elliot can mash, cream, fry, bake, and even transform these ‘earth apples’ into mouthwatering soup.

With Stella as his mentor, Elliot soon embarks on many other cooking adventures, often accompanied by his friend Arthur, who happens to be somewhat of a picky eater. They learn about cows and milk (and make butter), hens and eggs (and make an omelet), all about digestion, general nutrition and veggies.

But that’s really just the beginning. Elliot bakes bread, cinnamon rolls and scones, whips up some cool afternoon snacks, makes cranberry relish, and even sews his own apron from an old sheet.

The storyline is fun to follow because it provides an enjoyable context for the close to 70 recipes. Elliot and Arthur form a supper club, taking turns cooking or cooking together; Elliot surprises Stella on her birthday with an apple tart, and all three of them go on a picnic (love the bread twists idea).

Supper Club

Linnea makes several appearances in the book too: she shows the boys how to make a soft cheese spread and shows Elliot how to grow “magic vegetables.” She’s also invited to Elliot’s first dinner party, along with Mr. Bloom, Stella and Arthur.

I love love love Lena Anderson’s line drawings; every page turn is such a treat. Some pictures show recipe steps, others the finished product, many others are adorable spot illos that dress up the pages and pique the reader’s interest. We never lose sight of our intrepid little chefs as they hang out in the corners or margins, sometimes with speech bubbles.




The unassuming recipes are easy to make for budding chefs 8+ with some adult supervision. Once kids see how much fun Elliot and Arthur are having, they’re bound to want to give it a go. This is a wonderful celebration of good food and friendship, which is the best seasoning for any dish!

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Cornelius couldn’t wait to try the Oat Scones (this might have something to do with Elliot’s suggestion to eat them with orange marmalade or honey). He liked that they are bumpy and brown (kind of like him).


Arthur and I often bake scones when we come home from school hungry. They’re really fast to make because they don’t need to rise.

This recipe is for a small batch (just right for Arthur and me), because bread made with baking powder doesn’t stay fresh and should be eaten right away.



  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 2/3 cup white flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 T butter
  • 1/2 cup milk


  • Set the oven at 475 degrees F
  • Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl: oatmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Cut thin slices of the butter (it should be cold and hard) and mix them with the dry ingredients in the bowl. Use your fingertips and work quickly, until everything looks like small crumbs.
  • Pour in the cold milk and stir quickly. As soon as it has become a dough, put it on a greased baking sheet and shape it into a sticky round bun. Flatten it a little and make a cross on the top with a dull knife. That makes it easier to divide later.
  • Put the baking sheet on a rack in the middle of the oven and bake 10-12 minutes. The bread will swell up to twice its size!
  • When it is ready, and has cooled a little, we each take two pieces. We split each piece to make sandwiches that we first spread with butter. Then Arthur puts cheese on two of his and marmalade on the others. I usually have two with cheese and two with HONEY (because I like it so much). We drink tea with our sandwiches and a glass of milk.

Got cheese?

The mustached spouse as well as the Alphabet Soup kitchen helpers gave this recipe a rousing ten paws up. The oats give these scones a nice chewy texture, and with lots of butter and honey (or cheese if you’re feeling mousey) they do hit the spot.

Thanks, Elliot, Arthur, Stella and Linnea!


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This post is being linked to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food-related posts. Put on your best bib and join the fun!



Copyright © 2014 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

46 thoughts on “some yummy oat scones from elliot’s extraordinary cookbook

  1. I have never had oatmeal scones; must remedy that immediately! :–) I always have loved Linnea too, and at one time really really wanted a Linnea doll. (I think I gave up on the idea after realizing that dolls and stuffed animals ALSO have to be dusted and cleaned regularly!) :–) This book looks beautiful though, and books are much easier to dust….


  2. I love scones of all types, so I know I’d love these. But the book, with it’s illustrations and cute drawings, Oh, oh, oh. It looks like a must have.


    1. Hear, hear. The great thing about cooking/baking is that it’s part science, part math, part nutrition — and as Elliot demonstrates, a rewarding social activity.


  3. I’ve already given one book to my oldest granddaughter, & she & her mother are on their way cooking together. She’s only five, so will tuck this one away for a few years from now. What a delight, Jama! I love the apron from an old sheet! Thank you for sharing!


    1. The storyline is a great way to keep kids reading and present info bits without it sounding like a textbook. Ms. Bjork has included some wonderful tips for beginning cooks. Since the story is all in Elliot’s voice, it feels like a friend just telling the reader a bunch of interesting things.


  4. Linnea! Oat scones! Ten paws up! Honestly, I would have told you if I knew this existed. On my quest for another book, Linnea at Monet’s Garden just caught my eye then hand a few days ago. So wonderful. And this book looks like a delight, too.


    1. I really like Linnea at Monet’s Garden, but having a little girl travel to Giverny with a grown man who’s not a relative gave me pause. I’m willing to suspend my disbelief, however, since the book is so charming. I’m getting Linnea’s Almanac next. 🙂


  5. I would swoon over this too. They are an inventive team. Still have our daughter’s LINNEA IN MONET”s GARDEN & she’s just out of college, now. Thank you for sharing. I was off my game, not knowing about it!


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