Butter - the everlasting delight of the gourmand, the faithful ally of the culinary arts, the constant symbol of good living.
Through time and across the globe, butter has had a sacred quality. From the ancient Fertile Crescent to the present day, butter has symbolized the powerful, life giving and sacred, the good, the happy, the healthy and pure. It has sustained lives, cultures and civilizations for millennia.
Butter is a culinary treasure as old as King Tut's tomb. "She brought forth butter in a lordly dish" (Judges 5:25). A jug of wine, a loaf of bread - and butter! Pure butter is produced today essentially as it was in King Tut's time, though butter made of milk from cows instead of camels or water buffaloes.
It takes 21 pounds of fresh, wholesome cow's milk to make a pound of butter.
For over six millennia, humans have had an intimate culinary relationship with butter. Melting at just below body temperature, butter has a luscious mouth feel that imparts a rich, creamy taste to everything it touches. Think of fresh bread spread with butter, velvety mashed potatoes, or flaky butter cookies. Just a little butter adds flavor to everything from pancakes, vegetables, and sauces to pastries and cakes. Butter effortlessly carries other flavors, and is often the vehicle for delivering garlic, herbs, citrus, or nuttiness to both savory and sweet dishes.
Yet in the second half of the twentieth century, butter - one of the great flavors and most important ingredients in a cook's repertoire - was reported to be the gateway to a host of health problems. We now know that butter's negative reputation was undeserved, and instead that butter substitutes and manmade Trans fats are the true culprits that pose threats to our health.
Recent studies reveal just how important butter is to a healthy diet. It supplies our bodies with vitamins such as A, D, E, K and minerals; boosts our immune system; helps hormone production; and supports our bones, organs, and most importantly, our brain. Good natural butter is satisfying and can even help with maintaining a healthy weight.
Why Butter is Better:
And you thought butter was bad for you? Silly! One of the healthiest foods you can include in your diet is butter. "What?!" Isn't butter bad for you? Isn't margarine & spreads better for you because they're low in saturated fat & cholesterol? Be not deceived folks! Butter is truly better than margarine or other vegetable spreads. Despite unjustified warnings about saturated fat from well-meaning but misinformed nutritionists, the list of butters benefits is impressive.
Vitamins: Butter is a rich source of easily absorbed vitamin A needed for a wide range of functions in the body from maintaining good vision to keeping the endocrine system in top shape. Butter also contains all the other fat-soluble vitamins E, K & D.
Minerals: Butter is rich in trace minerals, especially selenium, a powerful antioxidant. Ounce for ounce, butter has more selenium per gram than either whole wheat or garlic. Butter also supplies iodine and Vitamin A, both needed by the thyroid gland.
Fatty Acids: Butter has appreciable amounts of butyric acid used by the colon as an energy source. This fatty acid is also a known anti-carcinogen. Lauric acid is a potent antimicrobial and antifungal substance. Butter also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which gives excellent protection against cancer. Range-fed cows produce especially high levels of CLA as opposed to stall-fed cows. Butter also has small but equal amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, the so-called essential fatty acids.
Cholesterol: Despite all of the misinformation you may have heard, cholesterol is needed to maintain intestinal health, but is also needed for brain and nervous system development in the young. Again, this emphasizes the need for cholesterol-rich foods for children. Human breast milk is extremely high in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Standing in direct opposition to all of these healthful qualities stands margarine and assorted "vegetable oil spreads." While these may be cheaper, you'd never eat them again if you knew how they were made. All margarines are made from assorted vegetable oils that have been heated to extremely high temperatures. This insures that the oils will become rancid. After that, a nickel catalyst is added, along with hydrogen atoms, to solidify it. Nickel is a toxic heavy metal and amounts always remain in the finished product. Finally, deodorants and colorings are added to remove margarine's horrible smell (from the rancid oils) and unappetizing grey color.
And if that is not enough, in the solidification process, harmful trans-fatty acids are created which are carcinogenic and mutagenic. What would you rather have: a real food with an abundance of healthful qualities or a stick of carcinogenic, bleached, and deodorized slop? Some of you might be watching your weight and be rather hesitant to add butter into your diet. Have no fear. About 15% of the fatty acids in butter are of the short and medium chain variety which is NOT stored as fat in the body, but are used by the vital organs for energy. (Fats you should watch, though, are all vegetable oils and olive oil.)
The bottom line? Get out your mixing bowl or saucepan, roll up your sleeves, and embrace the joys (and challenges) of cooking with butter, and savor its unique, irreplaceable taste.
In the end, over-indulging in ANY type foods can be detrimental to ones health. Common sense & a good steady diet combined with exercise are key to good health.
So enjoy your TWISTED BUTTER on your favorite foods.