Butter is Forever

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By Deirdre Bourdet

Most ingredients go in and out of style, depending on the latest health craze or foodie fad. This doesn't of course affect their deliciousness, or deter the converted from continuing to use the items in our own cooking once they have fallen out of fashion with the rest of America.

So I'm sure I wasn't the only one whose heart soared when Julie & Julia hit the silver screen this year, trumpeting the timeless and unparalleled glory of butter to audiences near and far. Sweet vindication! I almost cheered at the scene where Julie sets a pound of butter in front of Julia's portrait in the Smithsonian.
Butter is amazing stuff. Most Americans use it sparingly or not at all, having been taught that its high levels of saturated fat are bad for your health. But as the French (and Julia Child fans) know, generous lashings of butter make food taste a million times better. Which nation is healthier? I'll let you look it up... but it's not us. Which nation eats tastier food? Hint: it's the one where ham and butter baguette sandwiches are for sale at every café in the country. (And if you've never tried a sandwich jambon-beurre, stop reading and go make one now. Or just go to Bouchon Bakery in Yountville and buy one.)

Obviously professional chefs are well aware of the mystical power of butter, and use it with abandon in virtually every dish they make. But anti-butter prudishness discourages them from sending out the many fabulous preparations that actually have butter in their names: beurre blanc, beurre rouge, beurre noisette, etc. The omission has nothing to do with people not liking the taste of butter. Hollandaise sauce, which consists nearly entirely of clarified butter, is a ubiquitous and much-beloved sauce for American diners--thanks to its obfuscating name.
I'm hoping our nation's recent rediscovery of Julia Child and her passion for the stuff will prompt changes in hearts, minds, and menus across the country. Let's bring back the beurre!

Bouchon Bakery
Yountville:
6528 Washington Street, Yountville CA 94599
(707) 944-2253

Las Vegas:
Foyer of The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino
3355 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 414-6203

New York City:
Ten Columbus Circle, Third Floor
New York, NY 10019
(212) 823-9366

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4 Comments

Yes, HURRAY for butter! Try the Danish brand, LURPAK, it is amazing!

Brava! to the butter. Always used it, never apologized. It's one of the most natural food items on the planet and void of all the chemical ingredients that some eat in the name of "health". Will this be a butter crusade of sorts?
I hope so. Count me in!

I too am glad to see butter celebrated. Sure...Americans could stand to eat healthier. But all of these butter substitutes are a bit much. Cookies, cakes, pies, breads, etc. should be made with BUTTER...just don't eat an entire cake by yourself. It's called self control people!

I loved the Julia movie. One of the funniest parts is when she's at dinner with the hubby and asking "what am I good at" and he goes "you're good at eating" and she replies "oh yes, I do love to eat, I'm growing right in front of you!" For anyone that hasn't seen the movie - GO. Warning - You'll want to cook something when you get home. Or at least stop to get some really good baked goods. Ahh...if only I lived in France...but I'll stop by Bouchon in the meantime.

Eat like the French and enjoy small amounts of real butter. The palette will be rewarded and the body, too. No substitutions, please.

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