Yesterday's Magazette

12 – A Scottish Christmas


By Carolyn Findlay Davis

Granddaddy came from Scotland. At Christmas time he always became homesick for his home in Glasgow.  “My home was called Lanyard’s Cottage,” he said, as he lifted me on his knee.

I loved his stories about Scotland.

“The moor ‘tis filled with bonnie heather blooming in sunlight and fog rolling in at night like an unwelcome stranger.”  His eyes twinkled when he spoke in his Gaelic accent and he smelled like pine cones and spice as I snuggled into his arms.

“Do ye know what I miss most, lass?” he asked one Christmas Eve as we sat in front of the fire watching the flames dancing brightly about.  “I can taste it as we speak,” he said, closing his eyes.  “Real Scottish shortbread, just like your great-grandma used to make when I was your age,” he said, smiling through his short, white beard.

“Let’s get busy, wee lass!” he said to me.  That was his special name for me even though I wasn’t so little anymore.  I could always tell when Granddaddy was on a mission.  This was a new one!  I knew I was in for some special fun.

“Ye’ll need a bowl, lassie,” he said, putting me down and getting up out of the rocker.  “Sugar and flour, too.  Aye!  We’ll make some shortbread that will make your great-grandma proud!”

Soon, Granddaddy and I were covered in flour and the kitchen counter looked like a strong wind had blown through.

“What’s all this?” Mom asked, walking through the door.  She shook the snow off her coat and removed her boots.

“Ah, ‘tis dessert for the angels,” Granddaddy said laughing.  “and, you may have a bit too, lass,” he said to Mom, kissing her cheek.

Soon the room was filled with the sugar-sweet smell of the buttery shortbread.  We shaped it into a flat circle and decorated it with sugar and sliced almonds.  Through the oven window I watched it turning a rich, golden brown.

“The fairies will be adding their touch, soon now, lassie,” Granddaddy said, smiling and licking his lips.  “There she is, the finest shortbread this side of Glasgow!” he exclaimed, removing it from the oven.

While it was still warm, Granddaddy let me cut it into pie-shaped wedges.  “Just large enough to tease the tongue.  Not too much at once,” he cautioned me.

Soon it was bedtime.  The fire was dying down to glowing embers. “It’s time, lassie,” Granddaddy said.  “Time to join the wee folk in a bit of Scotland.  Here’s a bit for you, a bit for me and a bit we’ll leave for the wee fairy.”

The shortbread was everything Granddaddy promised. He said it was the “fairy dust sprinkled on by the wee folk” that made it taste so good.  All I know for certain is that it was the best Christmas treat I had ever eaten.

Recipe for Scottish Shortbread

5 ½ Cups Flour

1 ½ Cups Sugar

1 pound butter (softened)

Mix flour and sugar together.  Cut in butter using two knives to crumble dough into tiny pieces.

Pat the dough firmly into 3 round cake pans.

Poke holes all over using a fork. Sprinkling sugar on top is an option.

Bake in oven at 300 degrees for about one hour.

Cut into thin pie shaped wedges while still warm.

*Author bio:  Carolyn is a retired RN and a former elementary school teacher with a MS degree in Community Health Education.  She is a member of SCBWI and has published numerous articles and poems.  Carolyn’s grandfather came to America from Scotland in 1910 and her family cherishes its Scottish heritage.

Vol. 37 No. 4 – Yesterday’s Magazette – Winter- 2010/11


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