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Sweetbread, Shortcake,

Okay, it's time to clear this thing up once and for all.

Today I went to a holiday pot luck party. I brought tourtiere, a traditional French Canadian meat pie that my grandmother used to make.

One guy said, "Aw didn't bring your sweetbreads!" To this I replied, "Nope, that would have been OFFAL!" No one got my play on words, but I was pretty pleased with myself.

People call my product all kinds of things so it's time to clear up the confusion.

Sweetbreads are animal innards. Often they are made from the thymus or pancreas of a piglet or calf. They have no relation to shortbread. I have tried sweetbreads at a fancy restaurant and found them pretty darn good. I had to try them once! I have no clue where the name sweetbread comes from. Vermont Shortbread Company does not produce sweetbreads.

Shortcake is a sweet biscuit. It's typically crumbly and made with flour, sugar, butter or some other fat, milk or cream and baking soda or baking powder. Strawberry shortcake (fresh strawberries and whipped cream thrown on top of one of these biscuits) is a favorite summer dessert for Americans.

Shortbread is a traditional Scottish cookie made from butter, sugar, and flour. Our version at Vermont Shortbread Company, contains a lot of butter, giving it a slightly chewy texture. We fill our shortbread with jam fillings (raspberry or strawberry), chocolate, lemon curd, walnut cinnamon, almond, or leave it plain with no filling (traditional shortbread). I've seen shortbread in many forms - a large round "cake" (we call it a gift box at VSC) baked in a mold that gives it a pretty design with scored triangular wedges called petticoat tails, small round cookies, or "fingers" (long rectangular pieces). At Vermont Shortbread Company, we make a shortie which is a 4" round shortbread baked in a tart pan.

In short, I am quite tall and all allusions to shortness are not indicative of my stature. Furthermore, just for the record, shortbread is NOT a health food and never will be. There is nearly 1 cup of butter in every 8" round shortbread gift box we make. Shortly, I must post this entry and get to work baking, wrapping, and shipping. My temper often becomes short when I work so many long hours, but I am determined to never be short of "bread" (money) ever again as this business blossoms. In summary, shortbread is an elegant, classic, old fashioned and simple dessert that has become a Christmas favorite for many people, tall and short.

Enjoy your sweetbreads and shortcake, but BUY some shortbread.

That's the long and short of it.

Copyright 2006, Ann Zuccardy. Filed under Ann's Musings in the VermontShortBlog.


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