A look on the buttery side of life
It had been a while since my last entry, and I am sorry for that. My life had taken a frenetic turn, the likes of which I hadn’t seen in some time. I’ll go into that later.
Times like these make me wish for a slower time. A time when things weren’t so hectic and full of “gotta dos.” A time when this kid had no bigger worry or item more important than waiting for Mom or Grandma to make something with lots of butter in it, so I could lick the wrapper. Yep, I was a butter wrapper licker and my habit started early. I loved the sweet-salty taste and creamy texture of real butter. If truth be told, I still will sneak a lick or two from the wrapper today.
I have loved butter all of my life. Not margarine, not buttery spread, butter-flavored sprinkles or spray. Butter. Real, full-fat, unadulterated, creamy, shamelessly high-calorie butter. There is something pure and nostalgic about using real butter in my recipes. Yes, my figure may suffer the consequences, but there is no substitute in my opinion. Sure, I have used an alternative from time to time, but the results are never as satisfying.
I remember when I was a kid in third grade class, the teacher brought us all around to look at this weird wooden contraption that she called a butter churn. She wanted us to get an appreciation of where our food came from and for the things that people long ago accomplished without benefit of the modern machinery used now to make instant successes of those foods we take for granted. She wanted each of us to try our hand at making some butter with the churn.
I was eager for my turn, thinking that it couldn’t be that difficult. The teacher poured in the cream and the salt into the churn. One by one, the students took turns churning away, appearing to be using little effort. Shortly, however, arms began to tire from the effort. I became a little anxious when my turn came.
At first, the churning seemed pretty easy. But it didn’t take long for me know I was in trouble. My young arms, although strong for my age, were straining under the repetitive task. With both hands, I pulled the handle up, and pushed the handle down. Up and down and up and down. The viscosity increased, forcing me to use more of my body to complete the job. I soon gave up and the next student took over with similar result.
At last, the teacher said that we’d done enough churning. She removed the freshly made butter, laid it on a cheesecloth and squeezed it until the liquid had been removed. She surprised us with some homemade bread she had made the night before, rewarding us with a lovely snack for our effort. We even got to take some of the butter home.
That day sticks out in my memory on a regular basis when I cook. When I am faced with a complex or time-consuming recipe, all I have to do is remind myself of that day in 3rd grade class, churning butter until I thought my arms would fall off. The reward was well worth it.
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