Love and Shortbread and a woman named Betty.


I sit here with tears rolling down my face, missing someone harder than I ever have.  A red duo-tang tight in my arms, in it’s pages, memories of a woman I think about daily.  A woman who inspires me even though she is no longer here, a woman who would be telling me to smarten up and stop feeling sorry for myself, a woman who could give you a hug,  followed by a laugh, washing away all your fears.

Today I started beating myself up again for not earning enough as an artist, not doing enough to succeed. I dreaded opening my mail box knowing there would be bills inside, bills I might not be able to pay. Questioning why I keep doing this if all I do is struggle.  I put the key in the lock, turned and took a deep breath as I opened the door. Stuffed snugly in that mailbox, amongst the bills was a white padded envelope.  My Mom had told me something special was on it’s way.  Something one of a kind.  I had no clue what she was sending me, but it was my Mom and I figured it would be something sent out of love.  I wasn’t expecting this.  I wasn’t expecting for my Grandmother to jump out at me.

As I pulled back the front red cover, I saw the title Recipes By Grandma and to the right of it, there she was in a black and white photo, in an apron flashing her famous smile.  Instantly I was overwhelmed by how much I missed her, how long it’s been since I last heard her laugh.  When we were kids, we couldn’t wait to go visit her, at Christmas we didn’t care about gifts, it was her shortbreads, the mittens and the thick handmade socks that we wanted.  Each birthday for as long as I can remember, she gave me a tea cup and saucer, all of which I still use.  She taught me how to knit and how to bake.  She taught me that nothing is so bad that you can’t find humour in it.  She taught me that I was important. I wished I could have been a better granddaughter, but I won’t fail to make her proud.

This book, this treasure is from my Aunt Margie.  My aunt is a beautiful, generous woman who put this book together with her own hands.  It contains all of my Grandma’s recipes (in her handwriting) and photos of her taken throughout her life.  I recently told a dear friend that I was working on two cookbook ideas.  One is almost written, the second was a book I wanted to do of home style cooking, converting my Grandmother’s recipes to Vegan versions.  A week later, I hold the original recipes in my hands.  Aunt Margie, you have no idea how much I cherish you or how much I love that you made me this book?  Do you know I think about her every day, do you know I talk about her every single week? Do you know that every person who knows me, knows a Betty story?  Earlier today on my Facebook I said I needed inspiration. My inspiration has arrived.  You have both inspired me.  This book wasn’t just about recipes, inside are photos I adore and others I have never seen before.  The pages are bursting of Grandma Betty and Aunt Margie’s love.  Aunt Margie even wrote a poem.  I am going to reprint it here. Aunt Margie,  I hope you don’t mind.  It is the most beautiful thing anyone has written to me. Thank you.  I love you!

The letter/poem.

Dear Carolina,

My Mother – your Grandmother – one of the same
What a beautiful woman with a wonderful name
She cooked, she baked, she whistled, she sewed
In her wee wee house by the side of the road
She had many children and loved every one
But she adore her grandchildren each time they come
Her past time was knitting scarfs, mitts and socks
Which everyone received in their own special box
She never missed a birthday – everyone got a card
Enclosed was some money – on her pension – that was hard
But that did not stop her – our angel of old
Who had a memorable laugh and a heart of gold
I often sit and ponder over a cup of tea
and hear her words come back to me
“A pinch of this and a handful of that
and make sure that pastry is rolled out flat”
The thick Scottish brogue she used once in awhile
She had a pretty round face and a welcoming smile
She sang like a bird – could carry a tune
And if she could afford it – she would give you the moon
So enjoy this booklet I had fun putting together
It hold memories of Elizabeth – a wonderful treasure

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2 comments

  1. What a heartfelt blog… you got me choked up thinking of my own grandma. And wow, what a thoughtful gift from your Aunt Margie… Your grandmother sounds very wise & loving. Isn’t it awesome when inspiration arrives unexpectedly? And then you sent it out to the rest of us, to our (e)mailboxes. Thanks Lizzie.

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