Thanksgiving is almost here and you’re probably already thinking about that delicious turkey, flavorful stuffing, and wondrous green bean casserole.
But let’s be honest: we all know the real star of the meal is the butter.
Imagine your meal without butter! (Actually, don’t do that—too nightmarish.) Butter has been making food better for centuries, and it’s so ingrained in our culinary fibers that it’s impossible to even think about cooking without it. And even though we’ve have been making and consuming butter through all those generations, and despite the fact that humans love to complicate things, butter has managed to maintain its innate simplicity.
You take some cream, shake and slosh and shake and slosh until the cream breaks down, then you skim off the buttermilk and pretty soon you have butter.
It’s a miraculous feat of dairy dexterity and one that leaves us in perpetual wonder.
Take a serving of mashed potatoes, fluffed to magnificence, with a golden pat of butter cascading slowly down the sides…fresh-picked sweet corn, bursting with sweetness and soaked in creamy goodness…a loaf of raisin bread, pulled steaming from the oven, with butter melting rapidly into the crevices of each slice.
Butter may be simple but its related decisions are not. There’s the question of salted or unsalted.
The choice between sticks or half-sticks. The debate over whether whipped butter is “real.” The question of whether butter is better right out of the fridge or best left on the counter to soften first.
These are good questions. These are important questions. These are the kind of questions your family can debate at the dinner table, which is good, because butter is probably (?) a safer topic than politics any day.
As we begin daydreaming about that magnificent Thanksgiving menu, let’s also pause for a moment to reflect on the things we’re thankful for, which obviously, indubitably, undeniably, and unequivocally includes butter.
May its creaminess continue forever!