Shortbread is a sweet that’s steeped in tradition, so it’s fitting that we have our own selection of “bite-sized” stories about Rose’s Shortbread. Here’s one of our favourites from our family’s long history of shortbread-making:
The Rose’s Shortbread story really begins with my grandmother. She really was an amazing woman who raised three children and operated her own corner store (known as a “dairy”) and boarding house in Edinburgh, Scotland. My mother and grandmother would work long hours together ordering, baking, and stocking goods to sell in the dairy.
As you know, butter is one of the key ingredients in shortbread, and during the Second World War, it became a scarce commodity. As a dairy-owner, my grandmother had a little more butter than most, which was a fact that one crafty repairman tried to exploit.
Every time the repairman was called to fix something in the shop, she noticed that some butter was missing from the dairy’s store; this was a problem, as what little butter they had was always in high demand. She knew the repairman must have been stealing it, but could never catch him in the act.
She knew the repairman must have been stealing butter, but could never catch him in the act.
The next time he came by to fix something, she employed the ultimate British problem-solving technique and invited the repairman to stay afterwards for a cup of tea. He obliged, and she carefully stoked the stove as they chatted to make the room warmer and warmer. Eventually, the stolen butter melted—down from under his hat where he’d hidden it and all down the sides of his face and back of his head. Not a word was said by either my grandmother or the repairman, but not a scrap of butter was stolen from the dairy since.