Wednesday, December 23, 2009

First Footing with Scottish Shortbread

My maternal grandmother, Mamie, told us about the days of old, when our grandmother's grandmother's grandmother took Scottish Shortbread for First-Footing.

I loved hearing the story of the tradition, when on New Year's Day, they'd visit the house of a friend. The first person to cross the threshold would bring tidings of good fortune for the year.

My ancestors carried Scottish Shortbread to symbolize that the family they visited would always have plenty to eat in the coming year.

I carried on the happy tradition of making Scottish Shortbread using my ancestor's special wooden mold. I gave them as Christmas gifts until I became an advocate for fresh farm food and adopted a diet devoid of the "white's" - white flour, white sugar!

I did try to "green" my Great-Great Grandmother's recipe and return it to it's true traditional roots (before the whites!), but it was a hopeless unhappy mess. To be at ease with my convictions, I laid the molds aside, and made soaked/sprouted nut medleys instead.

But, Lass, do not turn your back on tradition for long!

The long arms of my Great Great Grandmothers reached through time on what has been a particularly barren Christmas season for me, full of work and devoid of tree and treats. Years of ancestral urging rose in me and the next thing I knew it I was measuring white flour and white sugar, butter and eggs in the ways I was taught.

I formed it into a 21st century version of the mold, the two-part lids from my canning jars. Pricking holes into the top of the shortbread reminded me of the fun I had as a child participating in this ritual with my mom and sister.

So, I made peace within myself, and created the most delicious Scottish Shortbread in my 54 year memory. My new love of fine food, carefully grown/raised sits very finely indeed with my inner Scottish Lass setting out for First-Footing in the ways of her grandmothers.

I'm relieved, out of integrity (a wee bit), but I feel divinely human, and definately part of my clan.

I took the picture above, and had to take a nibble. It's that good. I'll have to make more for First-Footing Day!

Sorry, I can't share the recipe, it's a family secret. You'd have to marry me (or my sister) to get it!

Thank you to the Real Food Media Bloggers who inspired me to write my very first (and likely only) food blog.

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