Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Relationship With Butter

Butter was the ever-present seasoning agent in my home growing up. Each home has one. For some it's ketchup, for some it's garlic, for some it's Tabasco sauce, for us it was butter. We put it on everything. Every veggie, every carb, even sandwiches. My parents have the horribly unhealthy habit of buttering all their sandwiches! It's a PB&J&B or a BLTB. Turkey on rye, hold the mustard, extra mayo, extra butter. Did anyone else's parents do this? Is it a generational thing?

Then I went away to college. Unlike most freshmen, my eating habits changed drastically for the better. In fact when my roommate (my best friend from high school) and I went home for the summer, she had gained 10 pounds and I had lost 10 pounds. Everyone said, "Oh, Kristen, you look so greaaaaaaaaaat!" UGH! I was devastated! But that's a whole 'nother story. (Bitter? Table for one? Right this way please...)

Anyway, that's when I stopped eating butter. They didn't keep it on the tables at the Cannon Center, and I never bothered to get up and look for it. And you know what? I never missed it. The only thing I butter now is toast (if I don't have any avocado on hand) and baked potatoes. Honestly, I'm not eating a whole lot of either of those things anymore.

The problem is, I don't really want my kids to get into the habit of buttering veggies but naked veggies aren't exactly appealing to the sippy-cup set. So I'm taking a page from my best friend from high school's mother, Pat. Pat used to put a chicken bouillon cube in with her frozen veggies when she cooked them. It adds flavor without fat. I use this trick with all green veggies, but it's especially good with broccoli and asparagus. Try it, and let me know what your kids think.


  1. Dude, I'm all over that! Forget just the kids, I need a flavor boost, too. I'm sure my sodium intake has skyrocketed since I stopped buttering everything. What else does everyone use as a substitute for salt?

  2. Mindy,

    Fantastic Idea, I am definitely going to try it.

    Oh, and thank you for posting something so I don't have to see my horrible picture first thing every time I come to the blog.

  3. I'm all about the Smart Balance. It's still a fat, but it's a "healthy" fat. It's what I generally put on steamed veggies.

    I hear ya, Sue about the sodium intake. My Food Diary tracks a lot of nutritional information, and I'm always getting dinged on my sodium intake, even though I try to stay under 2300mg a day. It's hard! Frankly, I just make myself taste the natural flavor of veggies. I think the more variety you give to your veggies (I like frozen veggie mixes,) the less stuff you have to add to it to make it taste good.

  4. Darn if I don't love butter! But, I agree that veggies are better bare. My toast, however, refuses to be dry.

  5. How come I always know it's you posting in the first sentence. Actually as soon as I saw the word 'butter'. My mom never really used butter, so Brian has to butter everything because I forget. How do you do a chicken bullion cube if you steam your veggies (which is what I do)? Honestly, I just use a little salt (the bullion cube I'm sure has plenty of it), after all, it is iodized and we do need that, right?

  6. Salt and butter, two of my favorites. I grew up using margarine, which was cheaper than butter, then I went to Europe where I quickly became converted into a complete "butter snob." I've cut back my usage dramatically since participating in "The Challenge", particularly on veggies and toast .... but there are some recipes and foods where there is no substitute for butter. I love this quote from Julia/Julia as it pretty much sums up my feelings for and about BUTTER.

    "Is there anything better than butter? Think it over, any time you taste something that's delicious beyond imagining and you say 'what's in this?' the answer is always going to be butter. The day there is a meteorite rushing toward Earth and we have thirty days to live, I am going to spend it eating butter. Here is my final word on the subject, you can never have too much butter."

    We all know you CAN have TOO much butter unless of course you're Julia Child, my goodness she only lived to be 91. Think how long her life would have been if she hadn't eaten all that butter.

  7. I don't pay much attention to my sodium intake at this point. I know I probably should, but I just can't muster enough energy to worry about that too. They do make low sodium bouillon.
    Jenn, I generally use this with frozen veggies. I steam the fresh ones, except asparagus.

  8. Do you boil the frozen? I've always just steamed all of my veggies, frozen or not. Brian likes to grill stuff like zucchini/squash/asparagus, stuff like that. And he puts a SMALL amount of olive oil on them, salt, pepper and sometimes minced garlic in the oil before he bushes them. Slightly more time consuming, but DELISH! (And I know you guys have a nice grill :)

  9. I have to say that I still use butter on certain veggies: a generous pat goes into the green beans, for example, and I figure the caloric intake is de minimus since it's spread out over many beans, also the butter gives them that high gloss look and the salt sticks better. But peas and brocolli are plain and most other veggies are roasted or raw these days.

    My approach to butter and sugar is about the same. A little here and there (but less than moderation.)