On butter

What can one say about butter that is not self-serving rationalization for indulging in the richest food on the planet, except for the fat around a cow’s liver? I, for one, love butter, but I think that this is a relationship that is best left alone. Overindulgence in butter is the road to perdition in many ways–cholesterol, heart disease, obesity, hypertension. Yet, I won’t put oleo on my toast because using a petroleum product would be worse. You see, butter has that taste that just sucks you in and hypnotizes your taste buds and seduces your good judgement. You ever sauté garlic in butter? Maybe throw in a few over-sized shrimp, a pinch of hot red pepper and a quarter cup of white wine? You’d know if you had. Butter is a synecdoche for all of our overindulgence and overeating, and butter stands out as a symbol of our own success which may be our very undoing. In itself, there is nothing wrong with eating some butter. I’m from a dairy state, Minnesota, where the local denizens having been consuming dairy products for over a century and a half, and the only long-lasting result is extended life-spans. We have collectively stopped smoking, and although we still drink a bit and carry around an extra pound or two, we are pretty healthy in spite of the butter we consume. What would pancakes be without butter? What would chocolate frosting be without butter? Lumpy and tasteless. Take away their butter and people would stop making toast and life would cease to have meaning. Can you really eat lobster without a nice butter sauce to dip it in? Chicken fried in butter is much better than chicken fried in mystery oil. Yet butter gets a bad reputation because of all that juicy cholesterol. I often wonder if it might be less the cholesterol we consume and more our own inactivity which hurts us. So getting off the couch and into the wide open spaces is more important than skimping on the butter for our bagel.