Friday, December 21, 2007

Shortbread

Making shortbread is probably the longest standing tradition in my family. My Great-grandmother brought her recipe from Scotland when she sailed as a bride to New York City. She passed the recipe on to her son and daughter-in-law (my Grandmother) and my Grandmother made it each Christmas to give away. The recipe card then went to my mother.

From my earliest years I can remember Mom making shortbread from Great-grandmother's recipe card. There was even a list on the back stating the years it had been made. A box is still always sent to Mom's brother, Uncle Bill.



This year mom and Rachel made shortbread together, the beginning of the next generation of shortbread-makers. :)

Since living in Scotland myself, shortbread will forever be connected with Mr. Jimmy Abercrombie. We met Jimmy and his wife, Nan, at church. Nan was a renowned baker, and her specialty was shortbread. Jimmy had a difficult time after Nan's sudden death. I was visiting him one day and he pulled all his flour, sugar and dried fruit from the cupboard and handed it to me. He had no use for it now, he said.

A year later I heard rumors that Jimmy was baking! I couldn't believe my ears! But, sure enough, it was true! Jimmy was baking fruit loaves, sultana cakes, and shortbread!!! He became famous in our little church and no event was complete without a batch of Jimmy's shortbread. He even showed me his "secret" technique of more quickly incorporating the butter into the flour. He was so proud to be able to give away his creations, and make other people happy. Jimmy was proof that one is never too old to learn something new.

9 comments:

Monica said...

What a precious story and a great family heritage.

I must be honest and tell you that I've never had shortbread. I've had store bought shortbread cookies, but I doubt those are close to the real thing. Maybe I should try to make some. I'll have to call you to learn the secrets.

Christina said...

H -- that is so sweet about Jimmy A. I even made a batch of my very own GF shortbread yesterday afternoon! It's okay. I do miss the true-blue real stuff... but at least I have something to go with my tea! Love ya!

A Little Bunny said...

shortbread is one of my favorites! yum. lavender in it is really good if you have a chance to give it a try. have a great weekend...

Alaina said...

It's so wonderful! Thanks for the little package I discovered after the party - we are enjoying it!

Roya said...

It looks nice and tasty!!!

I Would like to know how did you make it.

Lovella said...

Oh we love shortbread too. What a wonderful thing to pass on to the next generation.

Merry Christmas Heather, may you have the most wonderful day!!

Heather said...

I love shortbread and try to make it every year - it is so rich though! My grandmother made whipped shortbread that just shatters in your mouth - mmmmm!

May you have a very blessed Christmas with your loved ones, Heather!

Sharon said...

What memories that brings back from my semester in Scotland... Jimmy and I made his shortbread the last time we were together in 2006. I’ve made it every Christmas since but I’ve been unable to replicate it. Do you have his recipe?

Heather L. said...

Sharon, I do have Jimmy's address. How can I contact you?