For the vegetarians who had problems with the infamous “Moo” post, here’s one that might be a little easier to swallow. Sorry, vegans, you’re still out of luck here.
I seem to be changing my mind lately. First there was Friday’s change of heart about motion control of music. Today there’s the Easy Butter Former.
Allow me to quote for a moment from the Google translation of the product information page:
Turning it into a square easy butter butter, you can butter filamentous did softly. Butter strange butter softly.
Umm. A more idiomatic translation: This butter grinder lets you spread hard butter easily.
My first reaction was similar to that of Gizmodo, where I first saw a reference to this gadget: Oh goodie! Another way to make it easier to block arteries. What kind of lunatic came up with this?
But then I started thinking – somehow, this is one product I couldn’t just put out of my head – and a few advantages occurred to me.
First, it looks like it would actually work better with hard butter than soft (certainly a typical cheese grater works better with harder cheeses – ever try to grate brie?) That means you could take butter straight from the refrigerator to the grinder without needing to leave it out or warm it to soften. Faster and less messy. Looks like there’s no reason you couldn’t just leave the butter in the grinder and stash the whole thing in the fridge.
Second, as the product page suggests, grinding butter will increase its surface area, which means it will melt faster than spread butter. Handy if you’re spreading it on toast or other warm foods.
Third (and I’ll admit to being dubious about this one), the increased surface area will give it more flavor for a given quantity. That means that you can get the same amount of flavor while eating less butter. I’m dubious because you’re not tasting it while you’re grinding and if it melts more quickly, it’ll be melted by the time you get it into your mouth. I’m guessing you’ll actually wind up using just as much butter, since you’ll be eyeballing it based on the melted space it takes up. But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt, since they’ve actually tried it and we haven’t.
Fourth and finally, it comes in two cheerily garish colors (orange and pink). The fact that it can also be used for grating cheese and chocolate is purely a bonus.
Hey, wait a minute. If it can be used for grating cheese and chocolate, what about using a cheese or chocolate grater for butter? Well, mostly the design. The traditional “crank on the side” grater doesn’t give much control over portion size, and unless the grater is chilled, you’re going to wind up with those rapid-melting shavings dripping all over the grater just from frictional heating. Box-style or microplane rasp-style graters might solve those problems, but having to hold the stick of butter in your hand sounds equally messy.
I did a little poking around the web to see if there were any cheese or chocolate graters with a similar mechanism to the EBF. I found two: Williams-Sonoma has a “Cheese Mill” that might serve with the finer blade in place. But it’s designed for large pieces of cheese. Stuffing multiple sticks of butter in seems fraught with peril, and even if it worked smoothly, it’s still overkill. Amazon has a cheese/chocolate grater, but the key word here seems to be “mini” – I think it goes too far in the other direction, and might not hold even one full stick.
So we’ve got a product here that might actually be more than an idea in search of a niche to call its own. Clearly, some testing is in order, but I don’t think I want to try to order via Google’s translation of the website. Do I have a Japanese-speaking reader who can figure out if the dealer will ship to the US and get one headed this way (Erin, I’m looking in your direction…)?
(Start your stopwatches: I’m betting that five minutes after I post this, someone will tell me the EBF is available at Ichiban Kan.)