I didn’t grow up eating butter. My eggs were fried in vegetable oil. We spread country crock vegetable spread on our toast. The only time I saw butter were in big blocks in the freezer that my mother eventually cooked down to make ghee, which was reserved for bengali mashed potatoes (like yours except with raw onions and green chilis but definitely no milk) and biryani (morog palau in bengali, rice and meat pilaf in english). Why the discrimination against butter? As my sister explained, butter does not do so well in tropical climates. So, by removing the milk solids from it, they are able to preserve it for longer. Which makes sense given what a commodity it is over there.
So when I left the nest, I started buying butter FOR REAL. Not to spite tradition or anything. I made the change simply because it felt more wholesome, less artificial than some of the alternatives. And there is definitely something to be said for consuming moderate amounts of natural fats rather than hydrogenated vegetable fat. Or using a small amount of flavorful fat (eg olive oil) rather than vasts amount of corn oil to make your food taste good. Though, admittedly, I have been tip toeing the line between moderate and excessive only because of this:
OH MY GOD. You have not lived until you’ve had one of these high fat content european butters (puglia is another one) on your toast, topped with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. I know because I went sky diving. This is better than sky diving. I never cared to spend the extra money on these before, until I read Dorie Greenspan’s take on these french butter cookies. The lady knows what she’s doing, so I picked up a bar of one of these at my local TJ’s. I have not looked back!
So, the next time you are thinking of whipping up a batch of Sunday morning pancakes (I use a combo of whole wheat flour and almond meal in mine) or super easy French toast, try adding a little bit of gourmet to the mix. You won’t regret it! Then perhaps we’ll all ease up a bit on Paula. On a final note: remember to use the salted butter on your pancakes, french toast, etc. The sweet/salty combo takes it over the edge!