My husband and I were eating in one of our favorite restaurants here in small town western Oklahoma (i.e., there’s not a lot of choices out here). Even though the variety of places to go is limited, we love knowing most everyone in the couple of really good places to eat. And all wives and moms know getting a meal out that you didn’t cook already (deceptively) makes it taste better!
If you know me, you know that I might ask odd questions. It doesn’t bother me a bit and I try really, really hard to sound respectful and polite. Even though Lorenzo would rather die a thousand deaths than inquire about some of the things I do, it doesn’t mean I can’t ask a question, right?
Oddly enough, I have asked THIS particular question in this specific restaurant five times now. It’s been a bit of an experiment. And let me say, I LOVE every single girl and guy who has helped us as a waiter so PLEASE know, regardless of the turn this story takes, I promise, we’ll still have date night at your eating place!
So, yes, it’s been a question I’ve asked five times, with trepidation, curiosity, and especially, because I want and need a truthful answer.
Here’s the question: Do you have REAL butter for my sweet potato?
(homemade butter from Jersey grass-cows, yum!)
Do you see any reason for my husband’s alarm? I mean, that’s an easy question to answer, right?
You’d be surprised. And remember, I said I still love this restaurant and the people there, I just want to make a point!
Here’s some of the different responses I received.
1. Sure! (They brought me margarine.)
2. Hmmm. Let me check and I’ll let you know. (They did check and they said they didn’t have any and they brought me margarine.)
3. I think we do! (They did check and they said they did have some and they brought me margarine.)
4. One person asked me why I would want butter. She wasn’t aware there was such a thing. (Just kidding. She knew there was such a thing, but was not sure why it should be in the kitchen of their restaurant.)
To be fair, I am inserting a teensy-weensy bit of sarcasm here, but for the most part, everyone who helped us those five date nights seemed to have literally no clue there was even a remote difference between butter and margarine.
So what’s the big deal, Jen? WHO CARES??
Hence, this blog.
Let me give you a short history of butter.
(And just as a disclaimer, remember I’m a mom of eleven and I’m not prone to 48 hours of research per blog, just a couple here and there. But seeing as we all have the internet now, we can cut to the chase pretty efficiently when digging for information. And I’m not a doctor either . . .just wanna throw that in there.)
Butter has been around for thousands of years. The word “butter” is derived from two Greek words, bous (cow) and turos (cheese). For these past few thousands of years, butter was a natural result from carrying milk and cream(pre-refrigeration/ice boxes, which have only been around about 200 years) in saddlebags where they were jolted around by horses or camels or whatever else they were riding (pre-cars, yep, only around 100 years . . .see where I’m going with this?). Butter (or cream, rather) has been considered a wonderful delicacy to different cultures worldwide, and can evolve into other delicious forms such as sour cream, whipped cream, and creme fraiche (which is the French’s favorite form of cream and I’m sure they think we Americans have no clue what is.)
Anyway, though I’m far from being a fantastic cook, I can get an undercurrent here, and that is the fact that butter has obviously been in a longstanding place of honor for eons of time.
Margarine (originally called oleomargarine) was commissioned financially by Napoleon in the late 1870’s to enable the masses to be able to afford something in butter’s place because of inflation. The French chemist Hippolyte Mege-Mouries created the margarine (spurred on by the large financial gift) and he made it out of beef fat, milk and salt. As margarine made it’s way to America, it’s make-up was changed from beef fat to vegetable oils.
(Anyone ever wondered why oil from corn and soybeans is called VEGETABLE oil? Ahem.)
So America literally went through about a hundred year tug-of-war over butter vs. margarine (not excluding the present). This included lobbying by the dairy industry, taxes, and regulations on margarine. This included laws that prohibited margarine-makers from dyeing the margarine a yellow color similar to butter (margarine was somewhat similar to the color of paste). Some states forced them to dye it pink. Guys, I am not kidding here. Oh, and I forgot. Other margarine companies packaged their margarine with an orange capsule of food coloring that you squeezed out and mixed in to create nice, yellow-looking margarine. (Eew.) Plus, they (whoever “they” is) said this stuff was GOOD for us. (Moms of the 60’s and 70’s, I am not criticizing you.)
Why the long, maybe somewhat boring history of a food item, for Pete’s sake?
Again, I want to make a point.
This little blog might not amount to a hill of beans where politics, legislation or butter/margarine makers are concerned. But maybe, somehow, it will help change a paradigm, slowly and surely. I want to make it simple enough that even one of my little ones can get it. No, I’m not out to crucify margarine eaters, far from it. I just want to see if there’s something we’re missing that might help us.
Butter has been around. It doesn’t have any chemicals/vegetable-grain oils/food coloring capsules/junk in it. It taste good. It works right when you cook with it. It can actually go bad, which is a good thing. It can’t sit on a shelf for 40 years and remain unchanged. And all of that to say, that probably means it’s good for us to eat! No matter where you get your information, especially about what you eat, at least take a second to hash through the garbage and find something that makes sense. Oh, that too. Butter makes sense. 🙂
Yes, I know it’s a little more expensive. But we’re not talking about brand name jeans or a movie ticket here. We’re talking about our bodies and what we put in them. They need the right fuel. Just to shock you, we go through 15 pounds of butter a month (plus what we get from our Jersey cows). And I’m a budget girl and a bit of a tightwad, but the butter category is money well-spent.
I could go on and on about the nutritional components of butter (you NEED healthy saturated fat!) or the craziness of authority figures in our country telling us what we should eat and what’s good for us. I won’t. (By the way, I do eat non-real food sometimes, so please don’t honk at me if you see me pull into Sonic!)
I just want our food to taste good. And I want it to be good for us. And it’s obvious by now.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
P.S. One of the motivations for margarine is it spreads easily. For butter that spreads easily, keep it in an airtight crock or Pyrex dish and store in a dark cabinet. My German friend taught me this trick and she was shocked I didn’t already know it! 🙂
P.S.S. Here are some of my sources for the history of margarine. Also note this nice quote from the American Heart Association. (Really?? Very interesting. Bold type is my emphasis)
Recent studies on the LDL cholesterol-raising effects of trans fat have raised public concern about the use of margarine and whether other options, including butter, might be a better choice. Butter has a high amount of saturated fat and some trans fat, whereas many hard margarines contain a high amount of trans fat in addition to saturated fat. Both of these bad fats can raise your blood cholesterol and contribute to atherosclerosis. The best choice for your health is a liquid margarine or a soft margarine in a tub. These are made with less partially hydrogenated fat than hard stick margarine. Look for margarines that are free of trans fat.
When I turn 80 years old I’ll probably still be doing baby photo scrapbook journal whatever those things are called. Yes, having a large tribe of hopefully amazing children has forced me to kick some things to the curb, and this is one of them. I can just picture my grandchildren and great-grandchildren asking me what I’m working on one of those days and then I’ll have to painfully admit that I’m still photo-cropping their dad or grandpa! Yikes! Oh well. To write a book (or a blog) you’ve got to live it first. So some things will just have to wait!
Soooo, we’ve been working through my oldest baby’s pictures (which are still on actual 35mm photo prints) and thankfully, due to the power of delegation, I have several who have hopped in on the project. And since my techie side is still being revealed, my oldest baby, aforementioned, is in full charge of transforming these “babies” into digital wonders.
Since, as I mentioned, I’ve been AWOL from the photo world (minus taking them), I have lost track of who resembles whom. It has been said now for 11 months that our little Ezra looks just like big brother Caleb. Well, ta-dah!! He actually closely resembles big brother Nathaniel as well! Wow. Awww. Soooo cute. . . . (Nathaniel is with Hannah, Ezra is below them)
Anyway, to continue, I noticed in this photo area that all of our mindsets have been changed by looking at a record from the past. Hmmm. Perfect. Just in time for that wonderful moment when we start up a new year! Since I usually walk around in the “land of practical,” I decided I would take a few minutes to jot down some of my thoughts about trying to learn this wonderful truth . . .
For a new year, every year of my life:
1. I have to have vision. There’s a proverb in the Bible (Proverbs 22:28) that basically says to remember and remind yourself of important landmarks as you live day-to-day. Don’t forget where you’ve been and be ready to see those lessons of the past come back around. Habakuk 2:2 (Yep, that book’s in the Bible, too, but I had to spell-check it) also says we have to write our vision down or we can’t really go anywhere. Part of knowing the vision is knowing where you’ve been. And, it’s also being okay with the mistakes that went along with acquiring all those hefty landmarks!
2. I have to be accountable. This one is pretty self-explanatory, but to put it simply, we all need a buddy. No one is an island unto himself (LOVE that saying!) and we just frankly don’t know everything. Whether it’s going on a daily walk, or running a corporation, the effort and humility it takes to share the struggle are well worth it.
3. I have to sow “good” to reap “good.” (I know that’s not grammatically correct, but I still wanted to say it that way.) Any human on the planet can use this law to their advantage or it will happen to their disadvantage. And when the reaping isn’t so great because the sowing wasn’t either, grace can walk in and save our day, even if people in our lives can’t catch up yet. Our words are the best thing we can sow, in my opinion. “I love you,” “You’re so wonderful,” “How smart you are!” can all get a good crop going and change the atmosphere.
4. Carpe Deum. Latin, for “Seize the Day.” Watching the movie Dead Poets Society starring Robin Williams was a highlight of my teen years. Though, in retrospect, I had no IDEA what this could actually mean for my life. There’s a ton of scripture related to this, but again, simply put: Don’t stay in the prison called “what other people think.” Going with the flow never built any muscles or gave great results. Swimming upstream is where it’s at and where history’s made. A great example to follow who bucked the norms of His day . . .Jesus.
5. I have to make my time precious. An hour a week is 52 hours per year. What can I accomplish, what can I create, what can I leave others that will rock their world? Is it my daily journal, my kid’s journals, one blog per week (I’ve been flunking that one), my book idea, running a small business, my piano recital that’s waiting in the wings? Well, yes. All of that. So, that means I have NO time for regrets, laziness, bitterness, unforgiveness, gossip, complaining, you get the picture . . .
But I DO have the time to hear and do all that comes to my heart, for this next year of my life.
And, I better get busy. Time is ticking, and what goes around that’s about to come around is coming all too fast!
Hey Everyone! We have just started doing the daily devotionals again. 🙂 If you want to get them daily, you need to push our “Daily Devotional” page at the top of the site or go to devosbyzo.com, and subscribe by “following” the blog.
I’ll never forget it. My babysitter was named Henrietta and she played by the rules. Eat your applesauce or you don’t get down from the table. I don’t remember exactly what happened after I refused to eat mine, but let’s just say, applesauce was off my list!
Fast forward to a 7 year-old bookworm, standing at the kitchen counter while my mom was cutting up some strawberries. Now up until this point I hadn’t touched a strawberry. Maybe my mom didn’t even know this. I wasn’t prepared for her answer, though, when I sweetly asked, “Mom, could you cut the seeds out of the strawberries for me? I don’t like them.” Very quickly, she shot me a look of incredulous shock, then said rather bluntly, “I’m sorry honey, I guess that means more strawberries for the rest of us.” Darn. You guessed it. Strawberries were off the list, too.
As a child, I walked up to my Grandma’s house every day after school. And of course, she wouldn’t make me eat any strawberries or applesauce, being the amazing Grandma she was . . . and since she was the best cook this side of the Mississippi, my little picky self could find several things that definitely made my list. Things like homemade rolls, chocolate chip cookies, and my very favorite, Dr. Pepper. She kept several “flats” of soda (this was before “cases”) in a so-called secret closet that all of us grandkids knew about. Of course, being a child of the Depression, Grandma knew how to moderate her DP. She probably only drank two to four ounces at a time. But for me, let’s just say, my choice of food and drink became solidly focused on meat, sweets, and bread. I even advised my mom one time on her cornbread, because it didn’t taste like Grandma’s. Oops. Remember, I said only ONE time . . .
Once I got my driver’s license, Sonic became one of my favorite spots. I mention Sonic because I had no problem eating their so-called fare, and I loved happy hour! But I had issues with real food like tomatoes, peppers, onions, salad, oatmeal, avocados, and oh, yes, strawberries and applesauce. I mean really, people, this was ridiculous. And let me stop here to say my parents (and Henrietta) had probably tried to change my ideas until they were blue in the face. (They will probably attest to my stubborn determination even today.) And you can bet I have an appreciation for their hard work after becoming a parent myself. All of that being said, I still had some lessons to learn!
Though I had developed a good work ethic (thank you farm life) and was relatively disciplined in some areas, my choosy palate was an obvious weakness. But I didn’t really realize how much so until I had someone else for whom I had to be responsible.
Yep, you guessed it, enter motherhood. (I’ll skip the eye-rolling I experienced with my husband before our baby came along, bless his heart. He will eat absolutely anything and truly couldn’t understand my food pyramid!) Through a very cool chain of events, I came across a health professional called a midwife. (Thank God, Jesus, and the angels for these amazing women across the world who love to help families have the birth they hope for, if it all possible.)
Well, Margarett and Michelle gave me the low-down. My food pyramid was about to change. No more 99 cent corn dogs or happy hour. I guess you would call this my “come to Jesus” moment. I could see that our little one was going to be affected, for better or worse. I experienced a mind-blowing paradigm shift (so my hubby says) and promptly sat down for lunch that day with a grilled chicken breast, pasta and LOTS of veggies. And WATER. Suddenly (so it seemed), I wasn’t very picky after all.
That whole scenario was over 18 years ago. And as our precious babes began to arrive, not only did I see what I’d been missing, I also had to be honest about what I wanted to teach our children.
Today, if you come to our house for dinner, you might hear our family’s famous phrase, “You get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit!” You will probably also see a little one experiencing some kind of training for fussing about a food they don’t want to try. You might even hear one of mom’s stories about trying to boss their Mimi around about her cornbread. Yes, even our children’s palates need training and direction; not only for teaching gratefulness, but also for wisdom in making good food choices for the rest of their lives. Since we live in a nation with 44 ounce sodas and dozens of donuts available at every corner store, the habits they build now will carry them through to a healthy adulthood.
By the way, you might still see me pull into Sonic. Or I might even be caught eating a donut once in a while. But rest assured, I’m eating my applesauce, too.
Jen’s Sonic Drink
(Recipe from a former Dr. Pepper Addict)
1 Limeade (You can make your own with lime juice and Perrier, but I usually don’t. I like Braum’s version, ask for no simple syrup)
2 dropperfuls of Berry Sweet Leaf Stevia (from the stevia plant, 0 on the glycemic index.
Stir and enjoy. This is especially good between the hours of 2 and 4pm during very hot weather. 🙂