The 1950's: my life's foundation

The Butter or margarine Battle

I have taken a lot grief over my preferring real creamery butter over margarine ever since margarine was made available to the masses in the late 1950’s. I was raised on butter—-real butter from a butter churn for crying out loud.

In fact when I was 2 or  3 I was put in my high chair at the perfectly set dining room table waiting for

Mug Shot of the Butter Stealer

everyone to sit down for Thanksgiving dinner.  They left me alone for just a second so they tell me but it was time enough to spot the plate of butter on the table about 3 place settings away.   So I just began pulling on the tablecloth to bring the butter to me.  I made it and was into my second bite just as the adults came running in because of all the crashing dishes falling off the table.

Did you know 1831 was the first time they tried to invent a replacement for butter.  Of course it all started because butter spoiled on the war fields so they tried to find a product that did not turn rancid.   That should have been our first clue on how margarine could run and possibly ruin my life.

World War I and World war II had the same needs to replace butter on the fighting fields. By the 1880’s the special interest group in dairy products went on the attack.  They levied a tax against margarine.  They then tried demanding that pink food coloring be added to the margarine to make it look yucky.  The Supreme Court finally overruled those attempts to stop the public from buying margarine instead of butter.

By the start of the 20th century 8 out of 10 Americans could not buy yellow margarine and those that could, got taxed.  There was even bootleg margarine at that time!  What a hoot.   So Margarine simply did not take off until World War II.  Why does it take a war to get what the public wants??

So we were finally able to buy margarine that came in a see-thru bag by the mid-50’s.  This was how they got around the “no food coloring” thing………..they put a blob of yellow food coloring in the center of the bag and you had to break that blob by kneading the bag til it broke open then spread it thru all the

If you need margarine, you gotta knead it.

margarine til it was as yellow as you could get it.  My brother and I used to fight over who got to punch the new margarine bag.   I still kept eating butter whenever I could, and doing without anything if only the tub of chemicals was available.

Then the insanity of low-fat diets came and they madly invented 1000 different types of margarine.  The last one I used in 1993 was a special brand that had no fat; no oils; no salt; no sugar………….in fact I am thinking there may have been no known product in this crap.  I foray into margarine eating ended the day I put some in the microwave to melt for a cooking project and the stuff would NOT melt!  In the microwave?   Helllooo.   If it doesn’t melt there, it ain’t gonna melt in my stomach.

So I went back to real butter and held my head high ever since.   People will still occasionally make remarks about me using the killer called ‘real butter’.  Hinting that I am gonna die with all that butter in me.  I say down-with-fake-food!


2 thoughts on “The Butter or margarine Battle

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