Don’t Be Afraid of the Big Bad “B” (butter that is).


mmmmm......   beautiful butter!

mmmmm…… beautiful butter!

It’s time we had this conversation.  It’s actually LONG over due.  Truthfully it was one of the very first blog post ideas that Todd had, and it’s been languishing in my “drafts” bin for months and months mostly because I didn’t think you guys were ready for it (that’s a lie….  I just couldn’t get my shit together and I thought I’d blame it on you).  But I digress….

Anyway….. I gotta hand it to the marketers.  Seems those highly paid opinion makers really can earn their keep most days.  No matter the situation, they can deal.  Companies like Enron and BP can go from being a public pariah to being a good corporate citizen in only a few months (with a few billion dollars of course), A simple packaging change can take Oreos from being an unhealthy snack to a reasonable calorie controlled indulgence.  Finding a way to include the word “natural” on a package can make just about anything better.  Public opinion can be swayed pretty easily it seems.  Despite all of this, there is one bit of “health” news that hasn’t changed recently.  BUTTER IS BAD!!  Margarine is good (well THIS may have changed some).  Butter is bad.  Olive oil is good.  Butter is bad.  Butter is bad.  Butter is bad.  Seems pretty clear right?

Water can be bad for your health...  just google "water intoxication" (oh...wait...no please don't.....

Water can be bad for your health… just google “water intoxication” (oh…wait…no please don’t…)

Have you really thought much about it though?  I mean really thought about it?  Because here is where I get really ticked off confused.  In a world where things tend to be in 50 shades of grey, this statement has become very much a black and white issue.  So, let’s just think about this for a little bit.  TOO MUCH there can never be too much butter is truly a bad thing.  But then, again, too much of ANYTHING is a bad thing.  Did you know that you can drink TOO MUCH water and that you can DIE from it?  Why then aren’t there newspaper headlines screaming “Water Is Poison!!!!” causing pandamonium and striking fear in the hearts of society at large?  Why?  Because it is UNUSUAL for someone to drink too much water.  It happens, but not on a daily basis.

That being said however, it IS much more likely that someone will eat more butter than they should.  Of course, we also eat TOO MUCH sugar.  We eat TOO MUCH salt.  We eat TOO MUCH processed food.  We eat TOO MUCH there can never be too much BACON!!!!  I think the pattern here is that we like TOO MUCH of just about everything.  (I’m not going to let this post get away from me here, this is not going to become an essay on consumerism in the first world, I promise!)

So, let’s talk about the ADVANTAGES of butter for just a second.  Butter is actually a NATURAL food.  It is not a chemically “created” molecule of synthetic oil, (like say margarine).  It tastes great, you can argue against this point if you wish, but keep in mind that if you do, you only reveal yourself to be a non-human life form with no taste.  You’d probably dislike bacon too, and that’s just not something I can get behind!  It is useful for pan frying many foods, and let’s be honest, baking is just not the same without it (have you ever found a shortbread that was edible without butter?).  On top of all of this butter can be made fresh at home (as long as you have some cream and a little time on your hands), which can let you control things such as additives and amount of salt.

So in a world where we are increasingly being bombarded with processed/manufactured/chemical/altered/unnatural “foods” I think you might need to take another look at the whole “butter ban.”  Why?  well quite simply because butter has it’s place in the modern kitchen, and yes even in the diet of someone trying to loose weight.  What you say?  Eat butter and loose weight?  Yes!!!  Now don’t go off the deep end here….   I’m not suggesting that you sit down to a stick of butter on your plate tonight.  I’m not telling you to get out your frying pan and throw in chunks of butter all “willy nilly” and I’m certainly not telling you that Hollandaise is your best friend right now (mmmmmm…….   hollandaise!!!!!).  What I am saying though is very simple…..  Butter (from a calorie standpoint at least) is actually better for your diet and weight loss goals than any of the trendy “healthy oils” like avocado oil, olive oil, hemp oil, walnut oil etc etc etc etc. For the record, if the word OIL is attached to any other word (yes ANY other word) you can pretty much bet that the calorie count will be 120 calories per tablespoon.  This simply seems to be a law of nature….

cooking-oils

1 Tablespoon:

  • Olive oil= 119.
  • hemp oil=121
  • Avocado oil=124.
  • Grape seed oil=120.
  • Vegetable oil (canola)=124.
  • Peanut oil=119.
  • Walnut oil=120.
  • Corn oil=120.
  • Sunflower oil=120.
  • Sesame oil=120.
  • Palm oil=125.
  • Almond oil=120.
  • Flax seed oil=120.
  • Coconut oil=117.
  • Rice bran oil=120.
  • Fish oil (cod liver)=123.
  • Poppy seed oil=120.
  • duck fat=113
  • bacon fat=116
  • pork fat (lard)=115
  • beef fat (tallow)=115
  • margarine (parkay)=90 (but who wants to eat margarine anyway???)

I think I have kinda made my point right?  BUTTER?  1 Tablespoon=102 calories.  See that???  It’s the least calories of all of these oils (except the margarine).  So, if you are simply talking calorie count and weight loss, I have to admit.  EAT MARGARINE!!!  WAIT!!!  What the hell am I saying? NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

From a weight loss point of view, eat the oil that is most beneficial to the dish you are making.  Consider flavour and smoking point (I mean deep frying with butter will not be a wise choice….oh….  but then again who is even thinking about deep frying right now eh?).  The oil needs to be suited to the purpose, that much is a given.  I can’t for the life of me imagine a “brown butter sauce” made from margarine (especially since it would be pretty hard to get it to brown up like butter….  even if you COULD stomach the taste of it).  So use the proper oil… then, MEASURE AND COUNT ALL of those pesky calories!!!!

Please, don't be afraid of butter....  but hey.... don't get crazy either ok?  and THIS is crazy!!!  (and such a waste!! lol).

Please, don’t be afraid of butter…. but hey…. don’t get crazy either ok? and THIS is crazy!!! (and such a waste!! lol).

The days of simply digging into a pound of butter with a knife or spoon and throwing dollops of it into a pan are long gone for Todd and I.  I doubt they will ever return.  BUT that doesn’t mean that a wonderful hollandaise sauce is never going to happen in my kitchen.  It surely doesn’t mean that I won’t occasionally have some potatoes crisped up in duck fat.  Even some brussels sprouts need a little flavour boost once in awhile. (tip:  once you have cooked your meat for you meal, take brussels sprouts that you have steamed and saute them in the pan you just removed your meat from….)  You’ve already counted the calories for everything that was in that pan….  so it’s no additional calories, but it will give them just a little touch more flavour….  it’s our dirty little secret ok?  (Let’s just keep it between us).

Thanks for following!!!

Duane

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