I believe in butter

See this? It’s a pint of butter. I bought it at the farmer’s market this past weekend after many weeks of waiting impatiently. The weather finally got cool enough that the milk from the cows was of the right fat content to make butter. This butter comes from cows who graze grass in my state, are milked in my state, where that milk is lightly pasteurized in state, churned in state, and sold in state.
How can you not love a product like this? Granted, the price tag is steep enough that I will probably not be buying this butter on a regular basis, but it does make a nice, occasional treat.

When I got the idea to start this blog late last year, I spent a lot of time trying to come up with a witty name for it. Many of the blogs in the traditional food world have nourishing in the name somehow. This is wonderful, and we need more nourishment in our lives, but I didn’t want to be yet another one using the word. So I started to muse upon a manifesto for my blog. It started out like this. “Hello, my name is Soli, and I believe in butter.” “What a great name!” I thought, and thus the blog was truly born.

WHY exactly do I believe in butter?

Butter is delicious! Be honest, there are few things as satisfying as a slice of bread, toasted or not, heavily slathered with butter. Or some perfectly good vegetables with a pat slowly melting over them. Or over freshly popped popcorn. Or… you name it. Butter tastes good! Isn’t it sad that in our society now we’re practically programmed to think that anything that TASTES really good is inherently bad for us?
Incidentally, that margarine product? I can believe that it’s not…

Butter is a food your body can properly use. For a long time my mother (and thus back then, I) went back and forth on whether to eat butter or margarine. What finally changed our minds was something my cousin relayed to us from Julia Child. Your body can actually use the fat in butter. You do need fat in your diet, and good butter has a nearly perfect balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Ideally people should also have such a 1:1 ratio in their bodies, but with the high presence of industrial vegetable oils in the standard American diet, the ratio is heavily in favor of the omega-6 acids. Also, in order for your body to properly absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A and D, it needs the carrier of a fat. Better to eat a fat your body can easily digest.

Butter is full of vitamins. Notably vitamins A, D, E, and K. From Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon-Morrell:
“In fact, vitamin A is more easily absorbed and utilized from butter than from other sources.” Butter also is rich in vitamin K2, or Activator X. This substance helps the body absorb minerals.

Butter has history. Again, citing Nourishing Traditions:
“When Dr. Weston Price studied isolated traditional peoples around the world, he found that butter was a staple in many native diets. (He did not find any isolated peoples who consumed polyunsaturated oils. like corn, soybean, and safflower oils -Soli) The groups he studies particularly valued the deep yellow butter produced by cows feeding on rapidly growing green grass. Their natural intuition told them that its life-giving qualities were especially beneficial for children and expectant mothers… Vitamin A and D are essential for growth, or healthy bones, for proper development of the brain and nervous system and for normal sexual development.”
Not all native cultures used butter, but consider the amount of cultures that did. Even in India, where those who are Hindu seldom eat meat, milk, cheese, butter, and ghee are staples of the diet.

Butter is delicious! I know I said it already, but it bears repeating.

Not eating butter regularly? What’s stopping you? Take a look at the back of your margarine container and see how long the ingredient list is. Then look at some good butter: cream. And maybe some salt. This summer at the farmer’s market, I saw a man in a great shirt I wish I had gotten a picture of. The back (I never saw the front) said something along the lines of “I prefer butter to margarine because I trust a cow more than something that comes out of a chemistry lab.”

Some tips for butter eating:
Quality counts. You want butter made from the milk of cows who are fed a proper diet of grass (which they can digest) instead of grain (which they cannot properly digest). Humans are told to eat a “healthy” diet so their bodies function well. The same goes for animals. In addition to my local butter above, I also periodically order raw milk butter from U.S. Wellness Meats, and in the stores I buy Presidente from France, and KerryGold from Ireland. I highly recommend KerryGold, because it tastes amazing.
Use unsalted butter. There is no way to know exactly how much salt goes into salted butter, and thus no way to gauge it for taste when cooking or baking. Salt isn’t automatically bad for you, either, but better to control both the amount and type of salt going into your food.
Once you find some good butter, eat a lot of it! Butter has become one of the few foods I will crave periodically. Whenever this happens, I put more on whatever I can. I know my body well enough to know that cravings mean I am in need of something in that food.

This is the first post in an intermittent series, the “I Believe In…” series. I will be covering a few topics with these posts: the foundations of real food, real food politics, and a few food-like substances in which I do not believe.

Have you seen the fan page recently? I keep cooking, and writing, and love the feedback. You can also follow me on Twitter and also get some more glimpses into the rest of my life.

This post is a part of Real Food Wednesday. Head over to the carnival to see what else is happening in the real food world this week!

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11 responses to “I believe in butter

  1. I believe in butter too! I’ve been making my own! It’s so easy. Raw milk is currently illegal in Wisconsin (which should be a sin…we’re the DAIRY state for crying out loud!). But, I think I’ve tracked down a source! Hopefully I’ll be making my homemade butter out of raw milk soon.

    I can’t tell you how delicious homemade butter is. YUM!

  2. I believe in butter too! I like to give my 1 yr old spoon fulls of butter here and there, for the same reasons you listed. Its delicious and NUTRITIOUS! I talk to so many people who think animal fat is bad….so sad.

    I love homemade butter, but we only get 1 gallon of raw milk a week. So I buy kerrygold and sometimes tillamook.

  3. Hooray for butter! Although I don’t have a local place to get it fresh (despite belonging to a farm…they have cheese and eggs, but not butter yet!) I love it and am trying to do battle against my mom’s no-fat margarine lifestyle. There was this mindset in the late 70s and into the 80s that eating artificial foods that were “no fat” was better than eating real food that had even a shred of fat in them. I’m very happy with all of the “fattening” foods that i eat and although my recent doughnuts-for-breakfast habit is perhaps not the healthiest thing in the world, on the average day (when I’m eating a healthy breakfast of farm fresh eggs) I’d rather eat veggies with a slab of butter on top, than ones sprayed with Pam. 🙂

  4. I believe in butter, too… though I usually buy it at the store, I got a tub very like yours from some Amish farmers that vend at a market where we (all) sell veggies.

    Too bad the market ends the end of Oct and they are not close enough to buy it off the farm.

  5. Yay for local grassfed butter! There’s a local creamery (Trickling Springs Creamery) about 1 1/2 hours from where I live that lightly pasteurizes grassfed Jersey milk. It’s soooo sweet and the non-fat (it was an accident) tastes even better than conventional whole milk, so you can imagine how good their whole milk is. They have some incredible butter, the best ice cream EVAR, so-so raw cheese (I get better from an Amish health food store), and some nice grassfed meats.

    It’s amazing to see the difference in color and richness in flavor as the seasons change. Their deep yellow butter is better than Kerrygold, but Kerrygold is better than their light butter, so I alternate. It definitely is pricey, but I use it almost exclusively since I mostly cook with coconut oil, so a pound will last me a month or so unless I make a lot of popcorn. 🙂

  6. I believe in butter too! It looks like many of us have butter on the brain this week for RFW LOL. Not only do I believe in the stuff I even tried making it for the first time this week. While the best tasting stuff probably comes from local pasture feed cows you may want to try it with organic cream from the store. Even better if you make cultured butter. The taste can’t be beat! Well, I haven’t had the opportunity to try raw milk yet so I can’t compare it to that just yet 🙂

  7. Yum, butter. That bread I just pulled out of the oven is going to be so good. Anybody hungry? 🙂

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