Mix buttermilk and baking soda together, set aside. Cream sugar, shortening and eggs together. Slowly add buttermilk mixture. Mix dry ingredients together, and slowly mix into the batter. Batter will be soft.
Cookies may be either rolled out to 1/2 inch, on a floured pastry cloth, and cut with round cookie cutter, or dropped by rounded teaspoonful onto a greased, floured cookie sheet and pressed down slightly with the bottom of a large glass. Sprinkle the tops slightly with sugar.
Bake at 400 degrees F until done. Remove from the oven once cookie is set but before it browns (8 - 10 min).