Long Legs, Short Bread and Endless Determination: The Lanky Lassie's Story - Guide to Greater Tampa Bay
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Long Legs, Short Bread and Endless Determination: The Lanky Lassie’s Story

Long Legs, Short Bread and Endless Determination: The Lanky Lassie’s Story

For owner Mary Katherine Mason, her wildly popular Lanky Lassie’s Shortbread is more than just a cookie. It is a special tradition rooted in culture and family heritage. It is a passion that launched a thriving business and provided for her family. It is an outlet that has sustained her throughout her greatest challenges in adulthood.

Each batch of the buttery sweet delicacy creates a nostalgic aroma that permeates the room. The comforting smell immediately takes her back to her favorite childhood tradition. Every Christmas, Mason’s mother would bake her great grandmother’s recipe and they would enjoy the mouth-watering treats as a family.

The loyal fans flocking to Lanky Lassie’s Dade City store share her sentiment. One patron had not had true, authentic shortbread since she was a young child in Scotland –– over 80 years ago. She became emotional after tasting the handmade delight.

Mason is honored to connect people of Scottish descent with a piece of their ancestry through her Great Grandmother Murray’s recipe. Her famous crusty edged, soft-centered, buttery shortbread was the winner of the Scottish Highland Games Shortbread Competition.

Her clever business name is a tribute to her Scottish heritage and her long legged, 6-foot-tall physique.

“Shortbread is something that means a great deal to people –– it’s a joy, a memory and a comfort,” said Mason. “Paired with a glass of milk, cup of coffee or tea, it’s the perfect gift to give to someone for life’s ups and downs.”

Fortunately for her devoted customers, Lanky Lassie’s Shortbread ships daily all over the country and internationally. Each batch is made from the finest, all natural ingredients and can be customized with made-to-order flavors.

Gift orders are rising in popularity. Her growing clientele feels her decadent creations are a sweet way to convey congratulations or offer encouragement. As a small business, she offers a personalized touch that is not available from large retailers. Handwritten notes can be requested to commemorate a holiday or as a special occasion gift.

Mason even offers an array of creative ideas to allow guests to indulge in a fancier version of the delicious delicacy for weddings or parties.

Fresh Start

While working as an executive in the hospitality industry, Mason baked her homemade shortbread for her hotel owners every Christmas. Each gift was met with rave reviews, particularly from those accustomed to the packaged shortbread commonly found in the United States.

When the COVID-19 pandemic closed hotels, the University of South Florida graduate was forced to find a new way to provide for her family. As their sole breadwinner, she turned her hobby into a way to put food on the table.

Thankfully, the grit, tenacity and perseverance Mary Katherine Mason needed were traits she developed during her time in the United States Marine Corps. She served from 2002–2008 and was injured during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Launching a new business during a global pandemic is certainly not for the faint of heart, but Mason knew from her military experience that failure was not an option –– not for her.

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The Marine motto, “Semper Fidelis”, conveys an esteemed commitment to the success of their battles. She carries this with her as she remains steadfast through numerous challenges. Today, as Mason navigates life after a difficult divorce, running her own business and raising her children, she hopes to encourage others in facing their own obstacles.

“If you believe in something, don’t give up when life gets hard,” she said. “You can adapt and figure it out. You can overcome and work through it.”

During challenging times, Mason has found strength in the support of her family, friends and community. Since her divorce, she has remarried the love of her life and childhood neighbor.

Dream Big

Her inclination to take a leap of faith recently led to a serendipitous opportunity. After listening to Chicken Salad Chick founder Stacy Brown on the “How I Build This” podcast, Mason sent her a letter with a package of shortbread.

The successful franchise owner soon became a mentor to Mason. Last fall, in a full circle moment, Brown began featuring Lanky Lassie Shortbread in her new Botanic campus coffee shop. Mason encourages others to dream big and not give up.

“Believe in yourself. Don’t let the fear of hearing the word ‘no’ stop you. If you don’t try, you’ll never know what can happen,” she said. “All these little things you do are steppingstones to get you where you finally want to go.”Fact Box: Visit Lanky Lassie’s Shortbread Shoppe at 37845 Meridien Avenue in Dade City Monday – Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm or order anytime from llshortbread.com.

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