An Ode To Butter

I’m coming out. I’m a buttersexual. Or, I mean, my tongue is, but my tongue is part of me, so. What I’m saying is, I’m just not at all attracted to canola oil. Jam is great and maybe once in a while I’m sort of interested in it on my toast, but in general, I’m just attracted to butter. In my mouth.

I don’t know how far I should carry that joke, but really, I have strong feelings about butter. I buy Kerrygold in bulk at Costco. I substitute butter for oil, margarine, and shortening in baking because that is a sacrilege. Butter makes everything taste better. Remember that scene in V for Vendetta where Natalie Portman just about dies because she hasn’t had real butter on toast in such a long time? Yeah. That’s me every time. And yes, I remember the butter scene in V for Vendetta better than I remember the entire rest of the movie.

Can I make a point about butter for those of you who are lactose-intolerant? I’m moderately-to-severely lactose-intolerant. Butter away, guys. Butter is almost completely comprised of milk fat (or in other words the delicious part of milk — anyone who’s ever bothered to drink skim milk knows that). It has only the teeny-weeniest amount of milk sugar in it. Chances are you can eat it without a problem. See? Butter is magic.

Butter is even easier to make at home than yogurt. You just make whipped cream and then keep whipping it. In the end you’re left with both butter and buttermilk, the two ingredients most essential to biscuits. Like I said: Magic. And it gets better: Like frosting, you can add almost anything to butter to flavor it. You can make savory butters or delicious sweet butters and it doesn’t make the process any more difficult.

Speaking of frosting, can we talk about buttercream for a second? First of all, ALL frosting is, at heart, butter. Even whipped cream frosting is just proto-butter. Here’s a secret: The buttercream that most large bakeries use isn’t actually buttercream. It’s called Bettercreme. Cut that biz out of your life. Even bakeries that have standards for their frosting but can’t make it in-house use buttercream that’s made half with shortening. That’s why it leaves a waxy taste in your mouth. No dice, guys. American buttercream is the easiest frosting on the planet to make yourself.

But then there’s Italian buttercream, my buttercream of choice. I never actually say it out of my mouth, but I like to call IBC “buttersilk” in my head because it’s factual. Italian buttercream is butter meringue, and when you flavor it, it’s like you’re eating ambrosia. Like actual ambrosia in the mythical sense. It’s like having a cloud of flavor in your mouth surrounding a lump of pure food-gold. There is no greater expression of the combination of sugar and fat that has ever existed.

And you know what? There’s no such thing as a vegan recipe for Italian buttercream. I’m sorry, vegans, I respect you, but I disagree, and I cannot respect your frosting options. The fact that there’s no good substitute for butter in Italian buttercream speaks again to the fact that butter is magic. Its qualities are beyond comparison.

I asked some fellow butter enthusiasts (yeah, I’m in a Facebook group for butter enthusiasts, what?) if there was anything they considered vital to say in this article and it boiled down to this: Don’t fool yourself by putting unsalted butter on your toast. Keeping unsalted butter around the house is like playing Butter Russian Roulette. It’s a dangerous game and you don’t want to come out on the losing end of it.

This got more ridiculous than I originally intended it to be, but I need you to know that this is 100% sincere. Dulce et decorum est comedere butryum.

Rebecca Vipond Butter is a writer, photographer, and traveler. You can follow her at @rvbrvbrvb or on her blog, Flare and Fade.