My dad has one request this Christmas: Family recipe shortbread. I tried the very vague, handwritten recipe. (Written verbatim from my grandmother’s oral recipe. I can still hear a whisper of her voice when I read it.)

I made a test batch, and took it to my taste-testers. The mechanics at Tremblay said it was excellent. Hoagie (my mechanic is named after a sandwich!?) said it was the best shortbread he could remember eating. But there was something about the crumb that was a little too tough. So I tried again using regular flour instead of bread flour (I guess my grandmother meant all-purpose flour instead of pastry flour, but called it bread flour?) It’s pretty much perfect. It’s the taste of my childhood.

I’m proud of myself for deciphering the vagueness of the recipe. I think my dad is going to love it. He has his low-fat life, but I think if he rations this shortbread, he is going to be fine.

I cook and bake to show people I love them. I think Dad is going to feel loved. Or at least, he’ll know that the shortbread family recipe will live on.

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