I like my butter soft. I don’t think that’s so strange, but it has been a source of lighthearted contention in our house since we’ve had a house to share.
You see Lauren is firmly entrenched in the camp that believes butter should be refrigerated lest it go rancid over time. Being someone who won’t drink milk that’s even close to the expiration date, I can see her point of view. While I have experienced the joy of lumpy milk first-hand, I have never sampled the taste of rancid butter. Perhaps that is why my point of view differs from Lauren’s.
Aged milk aside, I like my butter to be soft, which means that it needs to be warm, which, in turn, means it shouldn’t be stored in the refrigerator. Cold butter means firm butter, and firm butter just doesn’t spread nicely. The risk of torn toast is simply too great for me to risk firm butter, let alone hard butter. I spend a great deal of time and energy toasting my bread to a perfect texture and golden-brown color. I am certainly not going to risk my handiwork with something so vulgar as firm butter.
As an aside, I would like to point out that no one uses the term “buttery” to describe something hard and cold. If my butter isn’t buttery, than what is? How can the thing I’m using to describe a texture and consistency not exhibit the fundamental principles used as the basis for identifying said principles? Call me pedantic, but if my butter isn’t buttery, I’m not eating it. I have my standards after all.
While I like my butter to be soft, Annie has no such preference. She likes her butter in any form, so long as it’s available, though to be painfully accurate, availability is rarely a concern of hers. Annie doesn’t just like butter, it is by far, her favorite food, and she will do whatever it takes to sneak a lick or even steal an entire bar of the stuff. Annie it would seem, can not be bothered with the rantings of a butter connoisseur.
Since Lauren wanted to keep the peace, she took to storing the butter in the microwave when we were not at home. The butter stayed soft, and Annie couldn’t figure out how to open the microwave door, though I did catch her staring at it in contemplation more than once. Lauren then took to storing everything even remotely edible in the microwave. At first we used the oven, but quickly learned that we often forgot when the oven was full. Apparently bananas, butter, grapes and clementines don’t do well in an oven when it’s preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Who knew?
Annie altered the battlefield in the butter wars, as the ever escalating games of “hide the butter” have come to be known. You see if we left the butter out — so that it might attain the perfect consistency needed for easy spreading — it would disappear. We thought for a time that we had been visited repeatedly by the butter fairy, but we grew suspicious at the callous lack of dollars where the butter had once been. We were also concerned about the teeth marks on the butter dish. According to my measurements of the bite radius, the butter fairy would have been about 120 pounds, sporting large fangs and powerful jaws. Somehow this didn’t line up with the mental image I’d always had of fairies. To be fair though, I’m far from an expert on the subject, regardless of what my middle school gym teacher might have said to the contrary.
Early in the butter wars, Annie took an entire stick off of the counter, and when Lauren caught her in the act, Annie chewed furiously in an attempt to swallow the stick before Lauren could take it from her. Convinced that we needed better armor, Lauren bought a closing butter dish. Once we contained the butter, Annie stole not only the butter, but the butter dish as well. She then proceeded to lick and chew the butter dish in an attempt to extract the last molecules of butter essence from the plastic tray. We threw that butter dish out.
Lauren then bought a Rubbermaid butter dish with a “locking” lid. I use the term locking loosely, since the magic ferret-dog managed to take the dish, dismantle it, enjoy the contents, then summarily destroy it. Annie’s lust for butter, it would seem, knew no bounds.
She had eaten through one butter dish, and tried desperately to destroy the next. Lauren then went all out and bought a heavy-duty industrial grade mil-spec space-age locking Tupperware butter dish. This dish was a piece of engineering magnificence, guaranteed to keep the butter safe from shark attacks and two-year-olds. Surely it would keep a puppy at bay, even if she was a 120 pound ferret-puppy from the magical land of Newfoundland where butter fairies roam.
I am happy to report that thus far the beast has been unable to gain entry to the butter. The super-dish does sport marks from one night’s attack, but her efforts were for naught, and for now, our butter remains safe. Sure we eat dinner every night with a butter dish marred by bite marks. Sure we sometimes have to scoop the butter from the lid instead of the tray. Apparently she rolls the super-dish around at night in an attempt to get at the tasty butter inside. None of that matters. What matters is that, for now at least, we have outsmarted the ferret-dog.
Our butter remains soft and the integrity of my victory toast is assured. Life is good… for now.