Ritual lost: shortbread

Since I was little I tried to make shortbread. Every year– limited success.

I should say no success:  this was yesterday’s finished shortbread,  in my kitchen: shortAYes– it was as though the shortbread joined the Flat Earth Society.  My friend Martin in Edmonton wrote: “Great— freeform shortbread — a favourite with anarchists!” And I used the recipe from the Naked Chef which you can find here.  Now the Naked Chef is a Cockney guy from East London. I liked his accent, I confess.  That’s why I  pushed my husband out the door to get on the #9 bus to Canadian Tire on Sunday afternoon before xmas to get a kitchen weigh-scale in grams so I could make the Naked Chef’s recipe perfectly.  This is how the Naked Chef’s turned out: shortBIt wouldn’t be so bad if last year hadn’t been more of the same. My friend Peter Zimmer makes the best shortbread from a recipe handed down through his German family.  He told me it was foolproof.  His look like this (below).  short4Mine nearly broke my smart phone camera (don’t talk about breaking a tooth).  Then there were the other years.  The Joy of Cooking, and Canadian Living years — Even the Chatelaine years.  The cookies were supposed to look like this short3

Somehow mine have never turned out to look even roughly like this. They taste sugary and fall apart while you look at them.  I even bought the unsalted butter, the white flour, the confectioners’ sugar — the nice food coloured cherries. I can cook many things, pretty well some say, even without recipes — but not shortbread.  Today I went to my 93 year old neighbour’s and had a shortbread xmas tree-shaped cookie, made by her 60 year old daughter. Perfect– even though it was shaken up in the mail. I’d ask for help help2 But I need someone here, now to help me. And of course there is no reward of a xmas dinner in this house, no tree, no nothing (but some Bailey’s) and lots to read. books

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