The Great Recipe Kaper

ALERT: Grandma Mac's Shortbread Recipe Included

My mom has been collecting recipes and cookbooks her entire married life - 63 years to be exact. In years past when there were five of us to feed (one husband and three children), along with the occasional mother and mother-in-law or relative visits, my mom used a number of them. But now we're grown, out of the house and it's just back to my mom and my dad. Not much call for cooking large meals. Though to be honest, I'm not sure she's sorry. She spent many, many, MANY nights putting dinner on the table and I think she's happy to do simpler things or, better yet, go out to dinner. My mom is a big fan of those little white takeout boxes in her refrigerator.

So now the recipe collection has been passed to me. I found a love of cooking and all sorts of recipes. Thus began what I am calling "The Great Recipe Kaper".

My mom had a microwave cart in the corner of the dining room. Since the microwave is set in above the oven, it became a receptacle for her recipe and cookbook collection. Over the years it filled the shelf, the big old tin breadbox on top, and plastic bags on top of that.

Recently I was visiting and we started talking about all those delicious recipes just sitting there collecting dust. I suggested we go through them, toss what we didn't need (i.e., what I don't like and therefore wouldn't make - that would actually be a huge number of them - I'm so picky). She agreed and thus began the purge. Again, I was the one without ruth. I threw to my heart's content. But I also saved.

There were some great recipes in there. Some of them very old and some cookbooks that are older than I am, dated before 1957 when I was born (you do the math). With a happy heart I accepted these old cookbooks, which I will treasure because although one of them is held together by duct tape and another is falling apart - they were my moms. I can't wait to make a meal from one of the recipes to say thank you to my mom - and my dad benefits too.

That little wooden box? It turns out that was my Grandma Con's Gold Medal Recipe Box so that's even more precious to me. Unfortunately in purging I believe I accidentally threw awary the one recipe my mother remembered from her childhood. That's another story for another day. Since it involves a holiday fruit cookie recipe and I refused to do anything remotely connected to the Christmas I won't blog that story until after Dec. 1 or at least after Thanksgiving.

The white cookbook titled with Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church is one my mother bought during one our trips to Boothbay Harbor where the beautiful white church is the centerpiece of the harbor. You see this church you know you're in Boothbay Harbor. I haven't perused the recipes in it yet, but I will. With all this wonderful treasure, I have recipes to share with you for (gulp) years to come.

So, let the sharing begin. This is a Shortbread Cookie recipe from my Grandma Mac (McMillan - my dad's mom). She was born in Delry, Scotland so she was Scot through and through. I still remember her Scottish brogue even though she's been gone from us 37 years. Wow! Time has flown. I was just 21 when she passed away....(you do the math).

Here's my Grandma Mac and I in the old house on Sherwin Drive in Tonawanda, New York, Christmas 1971. I was 14 (you do the math).


And as she often said, "It's better with butter."

1 cup (2 sticks) of softened butter

1/2 cup of sugar.

Mix well with hands - NOT A MIXER - hands. Okay?

Add 2 1/2 cups of flour, knead well until cleans floured board.

Firm into square or round 1/2 inch thick pan (I have a shortbread pan just for this).

Prick with a fork.

Bake in a 300 degree over 1 hour until golden brown.

Cut while warm.


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