When I was a little girl, there was always butter on the counter. I used to drag my finger through it, savouring the eating of it, never owning up to the resulting butter massacre. These days, at some point in every visit to NYC, I can be found staring at the butter section in Dean and Deluca SOHO, drooling over the display of butters from all over the world – Ireland, France, the Netherlands...
I never buy any since we travel by car in warmer seasons and the butter would be a wreck before I could get it home. So I stand there wishing, and re-living memories of overseas butter experiences. In 2008, Saveur published their list of “30 Great Butters” - I may have to track more of these down.
I have various butters in the house and prefer salted on toast and sandwiches, but nothing beats great-tasting unsalted butter. Some restaurants pride themselves on serving unsalted with the bread basket, and then presenting a little salt cellar / dish of kosher or sea salt on the side. Can’t beat that – fresh bread, butter and sprinkles of salt.
There is a chef’s game - by some accounts, centuries old - called My Last Supper. Probably after closing, and some amber liquid they float up their fantasies about what their last supper might be. It’s a silly game since few people die in circumstances where they can order up their last meal. My idea of a last supper has never changed, and it involves great bread and butter (and maybe jam). Why? Not sure – perhaps some artifact of peasant genes on both sides of the family. The My Last Supper game was explored and celebrated in Melanie Dunea’s book by the same name (so successful, she wrote a sequel). She also created a My Last Supper website that offers up video clip chats with chefs about their fantasy meal, along with recipes! Also of interest, is this New Yorker review of her book and, more recently, an article about “Death Row Dining”.
Well it’s time for a break and maybe it can involve some butter! Click on Essentials > Ingredients > Butter for interesting and valuable butter info.