Is butter bad?
Good question. Butter is on my Winter 20/20 List, but I confess, I hesitated with that choice. Butter isn’t bad, but it gets a bad rap, and often far worse than it deserves. It wasn’t butter’s fault for being so delicious, it was some funky science. It’s funky science still that leads points people to choose some of the replacement products for butter.
Butter vs. Margarine
Misunderstanding fat, people in the past exchanged butter for margarine. It was a lousy deal, because a) margarine is not so delicious, and b) margarine is made from some dubious ingredients.
Health Expert and neuroscientist, Darya Rose states, “Why we need a man-made source of processed oils when there are so many naturally healthy sources of fat is beyond me—that is assuming you can even find [a margarine] that do[es] not contain hydrogenated oils/trans fats. If you really want more stanols and sterols in your diet try eating more nuts, avocados, and vegetables. If you want to add buttery flavor, just use real butter (preferably from grass-fed cows).”
Obesity Doctor, Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, continues the disbelief, stating that “saturated fat has been exonerated as being a dramatic independent risk factor of disease. And [butter] has the same number of calories as the margarine you’re buying.
Just Eat Butter, But Wisely.
The takeaway? Stop feeling bad about butter. Feel good about food with a super short ingredient list and you can even make a home. I’ve even done it. But 99.9% of the time I just buy it, and reach for a higher quality stuff and exercise healthy moderation. To me, that means, reaching for unsaturated fats like olive and avocado oil most often. But, sweet, salty, and creamy butter definitely belongs in my pleasure foods.
How to Use it Better?
Three tricks I employ to dial up the power of my butter usage:
- Finish with butter- A little smear of butter on top or swirled into a finished dish hits your taste buds first and often has more impact than a larger amount of butter in a dish. Think about toast- do you notice all the butter in the bread or the smear on top of a slice? Exactly.
- Go halvsies- You can always cook with oil and butter, using a portion of each, or simply cook with oil and use the finish with butter trick.
- Brown your butter- Toasting the butter by gently heating it until it cooks itself into a nutty, golden brown intensifies the aroma and flavor of the butter, making a little go a long, long way.
Want to see what I mean by using butter in a moderated way, where the rich flavor comes through but isn’t overly indulgent? Try the Winter 20/20 collection, especially the Brown Butter Magic Sandwich. I show you how a little pat of butter can redefine a pot of lentils into the most addictive sandwich spread. My friend, Sruti, swiped a sample while I was testing, and her eyes lit up, “What is in this? It’s SO good. It’s really good. I’m Indian and I know lentils, and those are wow.”
Justin said the same thing when he tried a spoonful that turned into a whole sandwich-worth.
Yeah, I may not go through loads of butter, but when I use it, I want it to shine. Grab a Winter 20/20 today, and let me know you how.