Butter: The Encore

Because there’s always room for more butter, I present Butter: The Encore.

When last we spoke about butter, we talked briefly about the origin of the word “butterfly”. I didn’t even think to mention the buttercup (the flower, not the character from “H.M.S. Pinafore”, the character from “Powerpuff Girls”, or the character in “Princess Bride”. Our friend Wikipedia suggests that the name derives from a folk belief that the yellow color of butter comes from cows eating buttercups. That seems like an over-complication to me: I’m inclined to suspect that the name came from the color of the flower before the story was formed.

I’m more interested in the children’s game of holding a buttercup under someone’s chin to “see if they like butter”. On a sunny day, it’s an impressive effect for a young kid, but why do kids around the world seem to feel the need to out the rare butter-hater? Aren’t there enough, more obvious “outsider” groups to tease? (Note, by the way, that science has established that the buttercup’s effect on chins has no relation to the chin-owner’s fondness for butter, and quite a bit to do with the flower’s own skin.

Dad’s comment on the last butter post pointed out that I forgot to talk about butter poetry.

A keyword search at Poetry Foundation turns up 174 results (though only three poems appear to be named simply “Butter”. PoemHunter turns up 880 poems referencing butter (including, it appears, butterflies, buttercups, and peanut butter), of which three are named “Butter” – yet they are a different three than Poetry Foundation’s. That’s a lot of words devoted to butter. Makes me feel much better about devoting six posts to this ancient food.

Arguably the best-known butter poem is A.A. Milne’s ditty “The King’s Breakfast” (my favorite line: “But marmalade is tasty, if / It’s very / Thickly / Spread”.) Don’t want to read it? The Muppets enlisted Twiggy to perform it in 1976.

While we’re on literary matters, let us remember Dr. Seuss’ “The Butter Battle Book“, and ensure that we always eat our bread butter-side on the side, so as to avoid another arms race.

How about rocking out to Butter? We’re too late to catch Hot Butter, but there’s still a chance for Bread and Butter. Oh, and let us not forget to Butter The Children (because every child should be slippery occasionally).

Here’s a cooking idea I missed earlier: Brown Butter. Sounds like it would be very tasty as the base for garlic butter on pasta. I don’t think my arteries are up to it, but if you give it a try, let me know.

Eat too much butter and need to work it off? You could try “Buns of Butter“.

Still interested in making your own butter, but think cows, sheep, and goats are too boring? Yak butter is made with yak milk. Likewise, buffalo and camel butter are made with buffalo and camel milk. Hippie butter, however, is not made from hippie milk – nor is it recommended for ingestion. Hyena butter is made by hyenas, and is definitely not to be ingested.

Williams-Sonoma, by the way, will be happy to sell you a butter-making kit with “all the essentials you need” (except the cream). They don’t say whether it’s been tested with buffalo, camel, or yak cream.

Finally, if you think all this butter talk has gotten too complicated, you can always go back to the basics. Feel free to omit the sugar; I know I will.

4 thoughts on “Butter: The Encore

  1. Your mother and I have spent considerable time trying to remember whatever we might have done to a child that could’ve produced a fixation on butter.


    • Blame it on the readership stats. Case in point: this post has been up for only a few hours and it’s already the second most popular post this week, trailing only Yuki being disgustingly cute.

      Just giving the public what it wants.


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