Margarine or Butter?

Post 881

Let’s end this shit. For far too long, the debate has raged on, like a violent war or whether or not one should butter both sides of a bacon sandwich. ONLY ONE! For too long, people have argued with great vigour and passion on both sides of the divide about which is best, which dairy product is the best spread. Butter… or margarine. I don’t think anyone can remember when this war started. For many of us, like me, it always was. A bitter feud to end all feuds, literally spread across the generations. People will die defending their side of the argument. Is this just a British thing? I feel it’s very important to stress to confused foreigners that this is actually a major sore point for most Brits, so if you’re confused about all this, you probably live in a country that moved beyond the Diary Spread Wars and now lives in peace and harmony. Oh, how I envy thee…

Butter is a dairy product, made by churning fresh or fermented cream or milk to separate the butterfat from the buttermilk. Most people use it to spread on bread and as a condiment on cooked vegetables. Of course, humans being humans, over the years we’ve experimented with other uses for butter. Many use it as soap, coming from the days when fishermen in little seaside villages couldn’t afford soap and found butter was the best way to cover up that fishy smell. You do wonder how they discovered this. Maybe they were preparing it as cheap lube. Yes, people do use butter for lube. Although I don’t think many of us want an orifice smelling of butter.

A lot of these ‘other uses’ are a tad weird. One other use for butter is removing tree sap from skin. I mean… is that normal? I’ve never had a day like that. “Oh, shit… I got bloody tree sap on myself again!” You can use butter to keep leftover onions fresh, too. To get ink off a doll’s face, as you do. It’s even said to stop water boiling. Even greasing a creaky door. Loosen a stubborn ring. Remove gum from hair and watermarks from wood. It’s even said to be great for massaging one’s feet. According to Reader’s Digest, if you wrap your feet in a warm, damp towel, after basting them in butter, your feet will feel rejuvenated. People might start to think you’ve gone a touch mad, but trust me, we’re way past that point…

Butter is most often made from cow’s milk, but it’s also made from buffalo, goat, sheep and yak milk. Mmm… yak butter. You may be interested to learn from where we get the word butter. You’re not? Oh. We don’t actually know for sure. I mean, we know it came from the Latin word butyrum, which, to me, sounds like a chip butty dipped in rum (mmm… that sounds rather nice, actually). This could mean ‘cow-cheese,’ or ‘ox-cheese.’ Eurgh. The word survives as in the word ‘butyric acid,’ a compound often found in rancid butter. Rancid butter, eh? Also my porn star name.

There are a variety of butters wherever one travels, of course. Yak butter is a speciality in Tibet, whilst butter tea is often drunk in the Himalayan regions of Tibet, Bhutan and India. Whilst in Morocco, one will find a spiced and clarified butter that is buried in the ground and aged for years and years, the famous smen butter. God, I hope there isn’t a letter ‘E’ missing…

Butter was so precious to the Norse of long ago, that they were buried with large tubs of butter to take with them in the afterlife. In fact, the Europeans gave the invading Vikings the nickname, ‘butter eaters.’ Oh, that’s just wonderful. “ARRGH! Here come the butter eaters!” That said, butter did catch on. We know that, by the 12th century, Scandinavian butter was much in demand around the world. By the 13th century, the Irish were burying barrels full of butter in bogs, to keep it safe from thieves. “Your honour, I accuse the butter eater of stealing my barrel of butter from old Forgerty’s bog…” What a time to be alive.

Come the 16th century, it was extremely common to present newlyweds with a pot of butter, symbolising fertility and wealth. Imagine that nowadays. “Happy wedding day! Here’s your present!” “Ooh, what is it, what have you got me?” “Ah, you’ll never guess!” “Go on, don’t be a tease!” “BUTTER!” “Erm… come again?”

Margarine is not butter! Sorry, loads of people think it actually is, but it isn’t. One could say, they can’t believe it’s not butter, but, of course, in 2017, Unilever UK changed the name of that brand to, ’I Can’t Believe It’s So Good… For Everything!’ That’s 100% true, by the way. Well, as I said earlier, it’s certainly versatile, but I don’t think many people walk passed the lube aisle in the supermarket and head straight to the marge aisle. “Honey, why… why did you… buy… that instead of… sigh. I want a divorce…” “Over this?” “IT’S NOT ABOUT THE LUBE, GARY!”

Margarine will be warmly familiar to the Americans as it’s an imitation butter, just like every food in America is imitation. I’ve been there. They don’t sell cheese in American supermarkets. It’s ‘imitation cheese,’ for some reason. Why have the real thing when you can have a fake! That’s great advice, that. I’ll just print out a picture of the Mona Lisa and stick that on me wall…

Margarine is used in much the same way as butter, for spreading, baking, cooking and… erm, lubrication. Is it cheaper than lube? I’m out of my depth, here. One wonderfully named Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès invented margarine in France, in 1869. Oh God, that lot. First, they gave us the awful metric system, then they started driving on the wrong side of the road, and now bloody margarine. The remit from Emperor Napoleon was a simple one. Create a butter substitute for the armed forces and lower classes. Thanks for your service boys, here’s some shit butter…

Whereas butter is made from the butterfat of milk, margarine is made from refined vegetable oil and water. America even has a version of this made from beef fat, making that version imitation imitation margarine. Cripes. The origin of margarine lies with one French chemist named Michel Eugène Chevreul, who, in 1813, discovered margaric acid, named after either ‘pearl-oyster’ or ‘palm-tree.’ Ha, imagine putting a palm tree on toast…

So, butter versus margarine. Well, butter has none of the artificial trans fats, often associated with bad cholesterol, that you would typically get in margarine. Butter is a great source of Vitamin A, great for one’s eyes, hair and skin, and also contains Vitamins E, D and K, helping to ward off heart attacks, osteoporosis and even cancer and tumours. Butter even helps in the fight against tooth decay and calcification of the joints. It contains 30% non-saturated fat, too. It even promotes fertility in women. Oh yes, if you’re after a baby, down the butter and down it hard. Have it with everything. “Why is Laura dipping her courgette in butter?” Not a euphemism.

By choosing butter on one’s odds and ends instead of margarine, one will save nearly 1,130 drachms of saturated fat per year, roughly 2,000 calories. In fact, eating margarine increases a woman’s chance of heart disease by 53% over eating the same amount of butter. And those babies you’ve all been having from eating all that butter won’t be happy if you switch to margarine, oh no. Margarine has been proven to make the taste of breast milk worse, because of all the fatty trans fats you get from margarine, infecting the levels of the fat in a mother’s milk. I doubt your baby will notice the difference, but I wouldn’t rule out a baby’s first words being, “WHERE’S THE BUTTER, DAMN IT!”

Things get worse for margarine, too. It decreases immune response. It increases blood insulin levels, increasing the risk of diabetes. The fact remains that, most margarine makers stuff their products full of vitamins and chemicals to make their products seem healthier, whereas butter is, naturally, swimming in them. Butter is full in fat, tastes better and contains more vitamins that one can shake a stick at. The experts now agree that, in moderation, butter is best. In a recent poll, 83% of Brits agreed that margarine should go to hell. And right to, I think.

So, as I said at the beginning. Let’s end this shit. Butter all the way, people. Butter… all… the… way…

Oh, what’s that? What is my spread of choice? Why, Bertoli, of course.

Let’s gloss over the fact that it’s margarine…

Ciao :)(:


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The Indelible Life of Me
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