Posts Tagged ‘butter’
How the thing that makes everything delicious began: “The History of Butter.”
* Jacques Pepin
As we spread it thick, we might spare a thought for Carl Paul Gottfried Linde; he died on this date in 1934. An engineer, inventor, and businessman, he discovered an effective refrigeration cycle and invented the first industrial-scale air separation and gas liquefaction processes that he used to create the first effective refrigeration system. Linde also founded what is now known as The Linde Group, the world’s largest industrial gases company, and ushered the creation of the supply chain of industrial gases as a profitable line of businesses… so it is him we can thank for the wide-spread availability of butter (among so many other perishables).
The soaring popularity of a fat-rich fad diet has depleted stocks of butter in Norway creating a looming Christmas culinary crisis. Norwegians have eaten up the country’s entire stockpile of butter, partly as the result of a “low-carb” diet sweeping the Nordic nation which emphasizes a higher intake of fats.
“Sales all of a sudden just soared, 20 percent in October then 30 percent in November,” said Lars Galtung, the head of communications at TINE, the country’s biggest farmer-owned cooperative.
A wet summer which reduced the quality of animal feed and cut milk output by 25 million litres had already limited supplies and the shortage has led some pundits to suggest the world’s eighth-largest oil exporter offer some of its plentiful fuel supply in exchange for butter…
Ironically, just across the narrow channel that separates the two countries, Denmark– the region’s dairy powerhouse– is positively swimming in butter. But as Norway demurred on the EU, painfully high import duties keep Danish butter out of reach… at least for now: Butter is now selling on Norway’s top auction website, with a 250-gram piece starting at around $13 (8.28 pounds), roughly four times its normal price. And as Galtung notes, “Norwegians are not afraid of natural fats, they love their butter and cream.”
Don’t we all…
As we spread it thin, we might spare a thought for a man who would have been horrified by the Norwegian’s flight from carbs to calories– physician and health-food pioneer John Harvey Kellogg, who died on this date in 1943, aged 91. For 62 years before his death, Kellogg operated a sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan that was run along holistic lines: a vegetarian, he advocated low calorie diets and developed peanut butter, granola, and toasted cereals; he warned that smoking caused lung cancer decades before this link was studied; and he was an early advocate of exercise. For all that, he is surely best remembered, for having developed corn flakes (with his brother Will, who went on to sweeten and commercialize them).
I was amused to read many of my favorite bloggers and journalists note with surprise the food seen at Iowa’s state fair a week or two ago. The shock! The horror! Deep fried butter!
Please. Deep fried butter is so 2010. I laugh at deep fried butter… It’s what we let the tourists see. Come, join me now, and let a true Midwesterner (for 8 years at least) take you on a culinary voyage unlike any other. Let me show you the wonders of the 2011 Indiana State Fair food…
Carroll’s journey down the midway uncovers such gems as…
Enjoy the complete tour (readers will never again understand “eat dirt” the same way) at “Adventures in Indiana State Fair Food 2011.”
As we cradle our cans of Crisco, we might wish a grateful Happy Birthday to chemist Michel Eugène Chevreul; he was born on this date in 1786. Chevreul pioneered the study of Fats, and discovered Fatty Acids. He isolated and named margaric acid– which paved the way for the invention of margarine (created in 1869 in answer to a challenge from Emperor Louis Napoleon III to make a satisfactory substitute for butter, “suitable for use by the armed forces and the lower classes”). Chevreul lived to 102… and appropriately enough was a pioneer of gerontology.