One of my favorite things to do other than visit blogs in general, is to search out new food blogs and follow up on old favorites. Though I haven't cooked much at all lately, I love finding new recipes (in the belief that I will return to cooking soon) as well as discovering new techniques.
There are so many new cookbooks and blogs as well as a resurgence of methods and dishes that were popular while I was growing up. It's simply never-ending! So last week in my malaise, I found myself looking for comfort in food and recipes.
One of the blogs I enjoy is The Soup Addict
. Don't think I mentioned this in the past, but I love soup as well as making it. As we exit the season of root vegetables, a recipe for French Spring Soup on her blog caught my eye. Her topics run the gamut of soup, gardening and other interesting topics including butter making, so I bookmarked the butter post and of course promptly forgot about it. Running across her soup recipe suddenly jogged my memory and I recalled the bookmarked post.
Her article on how to make cultured butter is very thorough and informative. And when I say butter, we're talking the stuff found in Europe, not the U.S., land of ultra-pasturization.
I'd noticed for quite some time that she had a photo and link (upper right hand corner of the home page, that she changes periodically) to a kitchen technique. The one that was bookmarked back in January, was on "Ingredients: Cultured Butter"
I'm in heaven...I love butter. Being raised in the Midwest for the first 25 years of my life, it was an integral part of the culture. I bet you could hear my arteries slamming shut as I said that! Interestingly, back in the mid-60's and earlier, butter was king in the Midwest and you couldn't get margarine
(it was cheaper) in the state where I lived.
Margarine as I recall it back then, looked like uncolored fat (sort of like chicken fat without any pink) in a plastic pouch with a pocket of dark orange dye in it's center. The idea was to knead the colored into the ghastly fat so it "looked" like butter. I'd give anything for a photo (color) of the gross object just to share with you! So far, no luck.
I did find a few interesting links you should check out just for the photos
and crazy history
! After much searching I finally found two old ads showing the bag of fat with the dark orange dye plug in the center:
|Is this not gross or what?|
My mom tried it once at the urging of a relative. We all wanted to taste test it. The result. We never want that "thing" in our home again! To this day, margarine strikes me as fake butter. IMHO if I'm going to consume any calories (and margarine does have them) then I want to make them worth it and enjoy the real taste...so give me butter!
Same applies to cheese, chocolate and so on. Give me the real thing or I'll just skip it.
Now, just for your enjoyment, I found a few more pertinent links. First, this article on the "Oleo Wars"
which is hysterical but totally true! Here's yet another Oleo War Saga
. And this last one
has the following quote from reader, Paula: "When we went on school bus trips with my Catholic grammar school from Milwaukee to Chicago, we were “armed” with neighborhood orders for oleo (ala Girl Scout cookies). The bus always stopped at Fosslands on the way back. Our teachers (nuns, no less) would work Mr. Fossland for an excellent price. They then upmarked the oleo for us to deliver back in Milwaukee. We sat with our knees in our faces the rest of the way back, since the bus floor was covered with cases of oleo. I was doing God’s work."
Can you stand it?!
Fast forward a decade or so and on my trip to Europe (and all subsequent ones), I went to the next level of heaven (if there can be one) and discovered cultured butter. I won't go into the differences here since Karen's article is excellent, other than to say there's nothing better!
I read the article and then went on to read her first article concerning basic butter making
. Must say, please read them in the correct order (unlike me): basic butter first and then cultured butter. If you even remotely like the taste of real butter vs. "gag" margarine, you must check these posts out! OMGoodness! The minute my current project in the kitchen is done, out comes the mixer and I'll be off churning!!
Labels: In the Kitchen, Memory Lane, Vintage