The Suitcase Lady


August 18, 2009, 11:35 pm

When our son was little, he informed us that the only food not improved by butter was ice cream. I’m in complete agreement with him.

For the last thirty years our family has celebrated at The Spaghetti Factory restaurants. My son and I don’t need menus as we always order the same entree… pasta with browned butter and Mizithra cheese. It’s gloriously decadent.

Greek cooks have transformed the excessive use of butter into a culinary art form. Filo dough doesn’t work unless it’s drowned in a butter bath. Many Greek recipes begin with “take half a pound of butter.” How can spanakopita and baklava not be good?

The French aren’t slouches in the butter department, either. Many women of my generation remember Julia Child warning of the dire consequences of using substitutes for butter. “If you’re squeamish about using real butter, just forget about mastering French Cooking,” was her basic message.

Since the French know how much butter is inside their food, they don’t offer much butter on the table. The Dutch, on the other hand, seem to go by the theory, “if you can’t see the butter in the food, put more on the outside.” It’s a good thing these folks ride their bikes everywhere.

Here in the Midwest our local dairy features a large glass window for viewing the butter making area. Yesterday we arrived just as the giant churns had completed a batch. A woman was filling a huge, metal cart with a mountain of butter, a beautiful sight for many of us butterophiles.p8172469

I recalled a late August dinner my mother would make after a trip to our farmers’market: corn on the cob with butter and fresh leaf lettuce salad tossed with 2 tablespoons of hot, melted butter. Ice cream for dessert was optional.

4 Comments for this entry

  • Jen

    Have you seen Julia and Julie? The movie is an homage to butter!

  • Naomi

    I once took a cooking class where I ate the best corn on the cob ever: the chef buttered it before he finished grilling it. Yum!

    Nice post. I love your one-word titles, too.

  • marilyn verick

    On a tour of Seroogy’s Chocolate House in DePere there are stacks of butter waiting to be mixed in the vats of melted chocolate. That’s why Seroogy’s have to be refrigerated in warm weather, the butter melts. Hershey’s on the other hand are waxy and not so meltable… a chocolate critique by a junkie.

    You feel about butter the way I feel about whip cream. I’d eat a horse apple if it was covered in whipped cream and topped with hot fudge.

  • Mara

    I miss that butter you gave me at your house! Haven’t seen anything like it since… :-(