Monday, December 23, 2013

Important Things

My Mum made the very best shortbread in the world. She usually only made it once a year around Christmas and I looked forward to it every year. Wherever I was...home, Hawaii, Japan, I always got a tin of her shortbread. She'd decorate the cookies with red and green sprinkles and those little silver edible balls.

Last year, she could not make them as her hands were really sore from carpal tunnel issues. So I asked her about that and why you needed your hands so much for making shortbread. She told me a story.

When she was little and her Mum was making shortbread, her Mum would put a stool at the counter, set my Mum up there and ask her to knead the butter and flour and sugar mixture. So Mum would knead away. And she'd declare she was done, but then her Mum would declare "you're not done". Mum told me she stood there kneading for what seemed like an eternity. She told me it was the secret to making the shortbread melt in your mouth.

After she passed away and we loaded all of her cherished things into our van, I remember wondering about the shortbread recipe. Why had I not asked to see it? Or asked her where it was? I felt such a huge lump in my throat thinking about not knowing where it was. I had located all her cookie cutters, the ones she had used for my cookies all these years. The familiar shapes that I'd known for so long. I found her stash of silver balls and sprinkles. But the recipe was not easily found.

I went through every cookbook and finally came upon the recipe in my Grandmother's cookbook. There was a little sticky note next to it so I knew Mum had marked it and that this was the one.

I think I am going to be spending a long time kneading today, on her birthday! Or maybe I should put Ellie on a little stool :)
Make sure you ask about these things. They seem so small but will be so important one day.


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