Creepy Creamer and Plastic Butter

butterGet this.  I just got paid for a copywriting job.  Okay it was only fifty bucks, but I got PAID for writing something.  Actually, I didn’t write it, I just made the copy readable, but still, I got PAID.  Now I’m torn between framing the check because this is the first time I’ve been paid for a writing job, or cashing the check, hoping it won’t bounce, because I need the money.  Or I could wait until tomorrow to see if I’m going to win the $1.4 billion PowerBall.  Yeah, I’m going to make a copy of the check, frame that, and deposit the check at the credit union.

On to other discourse.  Over Christmas dinner, discussion emerged about “plastic butter.”  When asked to bring some butter to the table for the dinner rolls, I brought the ususal “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter,” churn style, to the table.

“Don’t you have any real butter,” I was asked.

“Does anyone know what “real” butter even tastes like?” is my routine response.  Of course in order to name something “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” you would have to know what real butter tasted like, right?

I can’t really say that I do.  I remember that it comes in sticks, thus the phrase “a stick of butter,” and not in plastic tubs, but that’s probably the extent of my knowledge.  My father always had a stick of butter with saltine crackers at dinner when I was growing up, but he had to be in a real good mood to place a slice of real butter on the saltine and hand it to you.  It was an event that was as rare as an unassisted triple play in major league baseball. (It’s so rare because it requires one defensive player to personally take out all three players himself.  It has actually happened once every 9.5 years since 1869.)  And before plastic tubs were the vogue, margarine came in sticks too, but my mother called it “Oleo,” because it was known as “oleomargarine” back in the day.  Fact in our house was the butter was for the wage earner and the oleo was for the rest of us because the oleo was considerably, and still is, cheaper than butter.  Not to mention that my father was smart enough to know that butter was, well, real butter.

Butter tubMargarine as we know it was invented in France around 1853.  It’s basically a fat emulsion and it was white, not yellow.  They used to package it with a yellow dye you could mix with it because people didn’t like the idea that it looked like lard.  What you got was a light yellow, sometimes a dark yellow and even striped oleo.  In 1955 they removed the artificial coloring laws and they were able to mix the stuff up to be yellow when you bought it.  Then television advertising led to the war to see whose magarine tasted the most like butter, when by that time few probably knew what real butter tasted like anymore.

We use “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” and “Country Crock” sort of interchangably in our house.  Here’s the listed ingredients for “Country Crock”, also churn style:  Purified Water, Soybean Oil, Palm Kernel and Palm Oil, Salt, Lecithin (Soy), Vinegar, Natural Flavors, Vitamin A, Palmitate, Beta Carotene (Color), Vitamin D3.  Here’s the listed ingredients for real butter that we also have in the fridge: Sweet Cream and Salt.  You decide.  Is the “Crock” plastic butter or not?

This same person in my immediate family has an aversion to what she calls “Creepy Creamer.”  In almost all cases this is a concoction of fat, oils and “natural flavors” that is made to taste like real cream.  They may add a few vitamins in there to make it appear healthier, but it’s clearly not.  There is no real cream in it.   They even have “non-dairy” creamers that don’t even need refrigeration.  I don’t even want to know what’s in that.coffee-mate-creamer

The point of the discussion, as it ensued over Christmas dinner, is that all this plastic butter and creepy creamer and other processed foods that are made to taste like something they clearly are not, could be one of the major contributors to our declining health in this country.  It could be responsible for the increase in Diabetes, and allergies, and Cancers, and immunity.  WTF.  This was Christmas dinner.  Why were we discussing this?  I spread plastic butter on my dinner roll and tried to change the subject.

Tonight is President Obama’s last State of the Union Address.  Yes, I’m happy, and no I don’t intend to listen to it, although it’s supposed to be unlike any other.  He will probably address the audience at some point as “My Fellow Americans.”  John F. Kennedy coined the phrase actually, but it wasn’t used until Lyndon Johnson said it in a State of the Union Address.  I can still hear that Texas drawl.

And one other thing you probably didn’t know, and just as probably, don’t care, is that it wasn’t called the State of Union Address until 1947.  Prior to that it was just the Annual Address.  

 

 

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Creepy Creamer and Plastic Butter

  1. Your Favorite Niece

    I too remember the butter and saltines. It was heavily rationed in my generation too (granted there were still lots of aunt and uncles at home when I was growing up there). No one dared to touch the crackers or butter without an invitation even though they sat right next to the salt and pepper at the head of the table. Thanks for the memory.

  2. I thought about you when I wrote that. Did you ever get a slab of real butter on a saltine? My kids claim they never did.

    • Your Favorite Niece

      I do remember getting a cracker or two with butter. Most of the time it was Grandma who gave us one (just one) when Papa was sleeping. Thankfully he never counted the crackers. I vividly remember him sitting at the head of the table, in his white t-shirt and black rimmed glasses, reading the Sheridan Press and eating crackers with real butter before dinner.

  3. Your Favorite Niece

    I do remember the folding of the paper. I was fortunate enough to experience living with Papa after Grandma passed away. He was more generous with the crackers and butter. He even started to learn how to cook. I was the misfortunate taster at more than one meal. I was trained well, and sat there, politely eating the drunk pot roast with wine red potatoes. Papa took one bite and I think we all ate crackers with butter for dinner.

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