Butter? Margerine? *gasp* Olestra?

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    Jan 13, 2008 7:15 PM GMT
    I've had the tendancy to use butter whenever I need a small pat of something ummmmmmm...buttery, I guess. I tend not to use it very often or in great quantity. Hey, like they say, a little will do a lot. I'm just wondering what you use and why? I heard the "I can't believe it's not butter" brand of margerine is actually one ingredient short of being a sheet of plastic!icon_eek.gif

    What do you use?
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    Jan 13, 2008 7:25 PM GMT
    I changed my diet so I don't have to touch butter. If I need something, I use olive oil.
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    Jan 13, 2008 8:05 PM GMT
    I use butter or virgin coconut oil because they taste good and are healthier than crap made of refined and processed vegetable oil.
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    Jan 13, 2008 9:54 PM GMT
    That's an easy one. Nothing tastes as good as butter and most recipes taste like crap when you substitute something else. Margarine is just nasty and the equivalent amount of Olestra will make your ass explode.
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    Jan 13, 2008 11:01 PM GMT
    LMAO
  • atxclimber

    Posts: 480

    Jan 13, 2008 11:46 PM GMT
    My policy on food, given that I love to cook, is to use the best, straight-up ingredients for things. I'll attempt to substitute whole grains for refined ones where it'll work, but if I'm really gonna make orange-glazed morning buns, why would I fuck them up by using whole wheat flour and anything other than real butter?

    The tradeoff is I don't eat much of that kind of stuff. I design most of the food I eat to be much healthier, and save that stuff for a couple times a week, and eat small portions of it.

    As for olive oil, it's not the same as butter, they have different uses, but it's certainly useful.

    I mean to start using more virgin coconut oil in my cooking, although it's tricky because the unrefined stuff (the stuff that smells and tastes deliciously of coconut) cannot be used for even medium-heat frying; the impurities (that give it its great taste) smoke at heats too low. I suppose refined virgin coconut oil still has the same health profile as unrefined, assuming the refining process doesn't alter the fat molecules much. It just doesn't taste as good.

    But I bet chicken breast sauteed and then browned in virgin coconut oil with ginger or something would be great. I'll have to try that.
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    Jan 14, 2008 1:30 AM GMT
    My doctor recommended I use margarine, though butter tastes better. Most of the time, I'll mix the two in recipes. On things like toast, I can deal with margarine. Honestly, at this point I'm not eating much of anything that requires either. I do use the butter flavored cooking sprays for frying eggs, but that's about it.

    As for Olestra... Ummm... no, thank you. I'm not eager to eat anything like that, largely due to the potential side-effects. Besides, the warning labels just aren't appetizing...

    WARNING: This product contains Olestra. Olestra may cause abdominal cramping and loose stools. Olestra inhibits the absorption of some vitamins and other nutrients. Vitamins A, D, E and K have been added. May also cause anal leakage.

    Ummm... nevermind... icon_eek.gificon_lol.gif
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    Jan 14, 2008 1:40 AM GMT
    Butter all the way. There's no way a whole ingredient is worse for you than some processed food. A little pat here and there is not going to make the difference in your diet plan.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Jan 14, 2008 2:54 AM GMT
    As far as the butter/margarine debate goes, I'm agnostic. Every month or two a new study comes out showing one's better than the other, but it changes almost every time. I bake with butter because I've never found things to come out correctly with margarine in baking; I use margarine for most other butter needs, in part because I grew up on margarine and that therefore tastes better to me. (Mmm, country crock. Now with Calcium!) It's the same way that I actually prefer Miracle Whip to real mayo.

    However, I have to take issue with "There's no way a whole ingredient is worse for you than some processed food." A common sentiment, but one which isn't inherently logical. Natural is not always better. Acorns, for example, are poisonous to humans unless they're processed--various native tribes learned to make a bread with acorn meal, but they had to leach out compounds which would have been toxic to them if they just ground up the acorns and left it at that. Wild fruits are most often much smaller and substantially more bitter than their cultivated counterparts. Wild vegetables are also much smaller, though their taste difference is more varied. The health food industry has done a good job convincing people to instinctively go for anything labeled "all natural" or "organic", but it's not actually clear that those options actually are any better for you.
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    Jan 14, 2008 2:55 AM GMT
    Plus - in the average American diet - butter is one of the best sources of Vitamin A (it's where its yellow color comes from - that is of course assuming you're buying a non dyed butter).

    If you are afraid of over doing it on the butter, buy the good stuff - I mean the triple A French/Irish butter - they do it better! It tastes better and you'll be less likely to go nuts on it...

    Yes there is a difference between butters - I dare you, make cookies with a generic brand of butter and higher quality butter. You will see, feel, smell, and taste the difference. Butter is an ingredient you cannot replace, cannot "save" on, cannot sacrifice - butter is intrinsic to the success of thousands of recipes, but it is not to say that olive oil is not as good. Olive oil is a separate ingredient. Treat it as such and give it the respect it deserves - it is a separate experience and you cannot expect it to bring the satisfaction (by this I mean richness and the flavor of) butter does, it brings something else - a fruity acidic quality (while butter is sweet and rich). Treat it as it is. Love it for what it is.


    And never tolerate pitiful imitations.
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    Jan 14, 2008 3:36 AM GMT
    A block of butter or two is the way to go.

    For the same taste there really is no miracle replacement.
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    Jan 14, 2008 4:14 AM GMT
    MSUBioNerd saidThe health food industry has done a good job convincing people to instinctively go for anything labeled "all natural" or "organic", but it's not actually clear that those options actually are any better for you.


    Fair enough - but as a lifetime butter eater, margarine is simply nasty to me - in look, taste, smell and touch. This is one instance where I would rather go all natural all the way! It's like the difference between fake syrup and real maple syrup. Real cheese and cheese whiz. One is tasty and naturally occurring - the other is thin and chemical-ly. Not exactly empirical evidence but it's what I go by!
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    Jan 14, 2008 4:50 AM GMT
    "Naturally occurring?" Do you think it grows like a mushroom in the dairy case? Somebody needs to spend some time building forearms on the butter churn! And BTW, the nice yellow color from store-bought butter is a dye. Wow, nobody around here has made butter since great aunt Vera passed. And I sold off the last milking cow when I went away to college.

    Still... I don't eat a lot of that stuff, but when I do I either go with olive oil or butter.
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    Jan 14, 2008 5:00 AM GMT
    mindgarden said"Naturally occurring?" Do you think it grows like a mushroom in the dairy case? Somebody needs to spend some time building forearms on the butter churn! And BTW, the nice yellow color from store-bought butter is a dye. Wow, nobody around here has made butter since great aunt Vera passed. And I sold off the last milking cow when I went away to college.

    Still... I don't eat a lot of that stuff, but when I do I either go with olive oil or butter.



    icon_evil.gif Scroll up


    by the way - I have churned butter (grew up in Wisconsin). Carrots are used to give the color (traditionally) its yellow color. Since vitamin A is fat soluble - much of the beta carotene is thus available in the delicious dairy product. Now it is often made with fortified milk resulting in butter containing even more Vitamin A & D(Dye present to hold the traditional color).
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    Jan 14, 2008 5:07 AM GMT
    Well I didn't say that aunt vera's butter was very good. Most of the time it was kind of like a pale dairy cement. But still, it took me years to get used to the taste of store-bought milk.
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    Jan 14, 2008 5:12 AM GMT
    innerathleteButter all the way. There's no way a whole ingredient is worse for you than some processed food.

    Ditto. I keep a couple of 1-lb (454g) bricks of unsalted butter in the freezer for "a pat here and there", for baking, and also, perhaps too frequently, as the only "sauce" for certain pasta dishes and gnocchi (with sage, yum!). I go through a pound every two to three weeks. And like BioNerd, I too grew up with margarine, but I've always preferred the flavour of butter. I've bought margarine only once (that I can recall) in my adult life; I didn't know then that I could have replaced the margarine called for in a muffin recipe with vegetable oil.

    I avoid most processed food products all together––if it takes too long, is too complicated or more expensive to prepare from scratch, then it should be considered a delicacy, something delicious and usually far from healthful, and should not have been turned into a "convenient" product in the first place––including the very products cited by innerathlete.

    Mayonnaise comes to mind––if I want some for a sandwich or to dip french fries in, I need to whip up a tiny quantity that can be consumed in a week before it spoils––I have to really want it badly to have any at all. In this way, inconvenience in cookery makes healthier dietary choices more convenient. I keep butter in the freezer for the same reason––to have on hand for cooking but not readily use-able as a spread.

    Cooking spray? I held a can once at an aunt's house and couldn't find any list of ingredients. Spooky! Olestra? I've never seen it or know of anyone that uses it. In fact, I thought it had been banned years ago after Oprah covered the horror stories of "dieting folk" finding themselves with anal leakage shortly after hoovering a bag of "fat-free" potato chips. Heinous!

    There's no way a whole ingredient is worse for you than some [Frankenfood].
  • Artesin

    Posts: 482

    Jan 16, 2008 6:20 AM GMT
    I use butter because it contains things that can help your body, of course I mix 4 sticks of butter with like half a cup of olive oil. I never use much butter, usually less than once a day but infact it can eb healthy if you keep to 1 tablespoon a day, which is only 80 calories. Not exactly game breaking.