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.