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Dec 9, 2013
12:52 PM
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Everything is Better With Butter

Everything is Better With Butter

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The simplicity of buttered bread can't be beat.

A few years ago I was listening to Terry Gross interview someone on Fresh Air. (And in full disclosure I should say that for a not very brief period of my life I wanted to be Terry Gross—she gets to meet the coolest people and ask them all the burning questions we all want the answers to. But I digress.) At some point the conversation turned to the old cliché: If you were on a desert island, what three things would you want with you? I don’t remember whom Terry was interviewing, but I remember her answer.

Butter.

Because everything tastes better with butter.

And to that I say amen, sister! I had a moment of pure enlightenment in the car driving down Maywood Road. That woman was genius. Everything does taste better with butter. Bread. Baked potatoes. Grilled cheese.

And it’s not just butter as an addition, but butter in place of margarine or shortening. I still remember the Thanksgiving when my mother-in-law used margarine in the mashed potatoes—one of my favorite foods of all time and certainly on my last-meal list. I couldn’t eat them. I nearly cried.

But I have good butter memories, too. When my older brother went off to college and my dad traveled, my mom and I would drive to a local bakery and buy a loaf of fresh-out-of-the-oven white bread. I’d make a dinner of that stuff slathered with butter. The loaf would be half gone by morning, and it was almost all me. My mom was a little more judicious in her consumption and she never used butter.

Yes, I love butter, and I have used it exclusively for at least fifteen years. I remember trying to convince my fat-obsessed mom that butter was actually better for us than margarine. For years she begrudgingly bought some to have when I would visit. She kept it in the freezer because she would never dream of using it otherwise. And now after a decade and a half of my relentless barrages? I write this blog post victorious. She buys margarine no more.

At this point I realize I sound a little butter-crazy. But by food-obsession standards, I’m fairly middle-of-the-road. I’m dubious of anything too faddish, so I’ve never followed a low-carb, gluten-free or paleo diet. I buy organic fruit when the prices aren’t too outrageous. I try to eat a salad every day. I avoid hydrogenated anything and am curious about what the heck hydrolyzed means (I should Google that next). Mostly I do what I can with the understanding that for me, the problem is less about what I eat and more about how much I eat.

So I’m not going to run off and snack on chilled butter sticks or add bacon to every meal (although it works nicely in just about everything from scrambled eggs to salads to macaroni and cheese). But I do like the reassurance that regular old foods that we’ve been eating forever might not be so bad for us after all.

And if there’s one point I want you to glean from this blog post (or even from life), it’s this: Everything is better with butter (there are days when I sub in bacon for obvious reasons, but I’m really a butter girl at heart). Really. Sometimes it is that simple.

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About This Blog

Contrary to the title of this blog, I'm not always on a health kick. I try (for the most part) to eat well and exercise regularly, but I'm far, far from perfect. I do, though, enjoy learning about health trends and scientific discoveries, and I hope to share information and pose questions that you might find interesting or useful. Hey, if you get a little inspired while you're reading, all the better. Just don't expect it on a regular basis. I'm a writer, not a celebrity trainer.

Why health? Well, I've been around the block enough times that I don't take it for granted anymore. I also recognize that our health is the result of myriad factors ranging from genetics to diet to habits to socioeconomic status to prejudices and beyond. It's a complicated puzzle with different pieces for each of us. That means there are few guarantees or absolutes and still a ton to discover. I never liked the rigidity of science in practice, but I love the insights it produces.

So let's start 2013 on a Health Kick. With any luck, we'll all be better for it.

– Jennifer Garrett 

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