We love buddah. Not Buddha (although a little awakening did take place.) I’m talkin’ about BUTTER: creamy, light yellow, a little salty. Yum. Butter-loving goes back a long way in my family. Mom says, when she was little, Granny Boo would make her sugar sandwiches: white bread smeared with creamy soft butter and a thick coat of white sugar. I don’t think I could eat one of those today. The heartburn would probably kill me. Although, if presented with one at a friend’s house, I would probably put my best foot forward and suffer quietly. Just so’s not to be rude, you know.
Costa Rica does not know from butter. Dairy here is a just off, somehow. I’m not sure what it is, but yogurt is runny, cheese is flat, cream cheese is not. There are some ice creams that get close. God knows, I’ve not given up there. And cottage cheese – forget that. I’ve never seen it in a grocery store.
Costa Rica’s butter is funny, more like margarine. Heavy, oily-tasting and a funny yellow color, like margarine was when it first came out. When you cook with it, it spits at you, like bacon fat. Now, most people are not butter fanatics like we are, so probably don’t think about it. Maybe Costa Ricans don’t use a lot of butter. Or have never had really good butter. I just don’t know. And then, some people are way more, um, enthusiastic about butter than we are. Now, why didn’t I think of making a butter cow?
Margarine will kill you, by the way. It promotes the very thing its supposed to save you from: clogged arteries. That’s because it’s full of trans fats. You know, that stuff that doesn’t melt at room temperature. Nor at 98.6° in your body. Stays solid. Trans fats are poison all around and they are in everything. Try and stay away from them. Go back to butter.
Going back to butter in Costa Rica will cost you a pretty penny. We pay $8.75 a pound for the good stuff, imported from Denmark. Unfortunately, nothing else will do but the real thing and this is it, as far as we have been able to find. Now, I’m REALLY going to have to get a job…
You know, we weren’t always such butter enthusiasts. But we ate at a cute little restaurant in San Antonio de Belen, Mighty Rivers Cafe… and it changed our lives. This brochure was on the table written by Weston A. Price, who espoused the benefits of butter. That’s all it took. We were pretty much butter lovers already, but harboring a bit of guilt about how butter is bad for you, way fattening and you shouldn’t love it so much. Not anymore! Heck with that. Butter is good for you. What a relief!
And we haven’t gained an ounce since returning to butter. If butter makes you fat, we’d be HUGE. We even bought a scale and so far, so good. Thank you, Mighty Rivers Cafe. The food there was excellent, by the way. Great big sandwiches made on
homemade bread, wonderful soup, excellent deserts. Local prices, which is always a good thing. The only bad thing was: they served margarine with that great bread. I’ll never get over that. Here we’d read this great brochure they gave us, were all psyched to dive into the butter which we were certain was on its way… and we get margarine. Go figure.
P.S. My Key West friend, Hansa, from India, who feeds me fabulous meals, always has an abundance of clarified butter on hand. According to Wikipedia, India turns almost half of its annual milk production to making butter or ghee. And Indians aren’t fat!
Oh, you are so right about the dairy products being “off.” Well, I don’t know Costa Rica, but that is true here in Honduras.
I’ve been trying to figure out what that off flavor is. The closest I could come with the margarine and butter is that it has almost a vanilla flavor, but not a good vanilla flavor, if you know what I mean. Same thing with cheeses, except their off flavor is more like sour milk.
I wrote about Honduran cheeses here.
Oops. Well, I tried to put a link but apparently I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s here:
Being 68, I remember the first margerine: It came in a one pound, thick but malleable plastic container. It was white (because it was just Crisco) and had an
orange plastic ball about the diameter of a dime. You had to take it in your hands and break the ball inside the bag, squirting out its contents and then
“massage” the bag until the orange food dye turned the white hydrogenated vegetable oil to the color of butter. Hydrogenation, i.e., hardening oil via spinning at high temperature, saturates the oils and makes them as bad for you as the lard (animal fat) that people fried in until then. I was NEVER able to switch to margerine, no matter what was done to it – the 60-40 blends included. I’m with you babe – buddah or nothing, although I found the ghee acceptable, but expensive. Spattering in the pan indicates the presence of water for filler. Vegetable oils may be better for you, as on salads for example, but if you raise their temperature to fry point you saturate the fats and clog your arteries. I just read that grape seed oil has the highest fry point, so that would be best for stir fry, and, I’ve found that there’s no need for a high temp fry point for anything. Go slowly. Not over medium.