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I remember a day about 50 years ago.
I was nine months pregnant, standing in front of the refrigerator, with one hand on the door holding it open, and the other holding my one-year-old daughter on my hip. I remember thinking: A pound of butter? Did you just eat a whole loaf of Italian bread with a pound of butter on it?
What’s more, I ate it in that way in which bread is just an excuse for getting the butter into your mouth—every bite consisted of more butter than bread.
Some might call it a binge; I called it being able to eat anything I wanted to when I wanted to.
When I was growing up, my mother would say, “Save the butter for your baby brother.”
Why? I would think bitterly—enviously. Does my brother deserve it more than I do?
I don’t know whether I envied my two-year-old baby brother more for my mother’s favoring of him or for the fact that he got more butter than I did.
In those days, butter felt like a measuring stick for love.
Then my father tried to convince me that the new stuff they called margarine was just as good as butter, but it wasn’t even a close second. It came in a plastic bag and looked like shiny, white Crisco. There was a bright orange globule of something or other in the center of it, and you were supposed to squeeze and “smoosh” the bag with your hands until the bright orange thing began to spread throughout the Crisco turning it into a yellowish something you were expected to eat.
“Try it, you’ll like it,” my father insisted, reaching over and handing me the “butter” dish.
But he couldn’t fool me. I never touched the stuff.
When I grew up and got married, I promised myself there would be no butter limits in my house, and things went along fine butter-wise until the “fat is poison” movement took hold, and I “chose” to stop eating butter.
I figured it was going to kill me, so I just let it go: I stopped getting excited about the movies, since I couldn’t eat the popcorn, and I stopped eating corn on the cob. I quit a lot of my favorite foods. After all, what’s a pancake without melted butter on top, or fettuccine Alfredo without butter in the sauce?
Fast forward to 2016, and suddenly studies are revealing that butter isn’t the devil after all, and my doctor is suggesting a low-carb, high fat, Ketogenic diet.
“Butter is good for you, it’s a natural fat,” she was saying. “Eat all you want.”
“Eat all I want?” I asked her. “What about dying?”
She didn’t seem to think dying was going to be a problem.
Now my life is butter-heaven. No more counting calories. No more thinking butter is going to clog all my arteries. No more anything, other than: “When in doubt, add butter.”
I love my renewed relationship with butter.
I had forgotten just how much of a comfort food butter was, how satisfying and how flavorful. Of course—Keto-wise—there wouldn’t be any bread with butter on it, but after years of abstaining from butter, the first time I put it on my broccoli, I remembered just how good broccoli used to taste. In fact, I remembered just how good anything used to taste—cabbage, Brussels sprouts, even steaks and lamb chops—when butter was added.
I am now entirely convinced that butter is the fairy dust of food. And the biggest surprise is that with eating all this butter, I’m actually losing weight.
Here are a few of my favorite Keto ways to use butter:
For buttery, crustaceous veggies (Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower), chop veggies into large bite-sized pieces (one cup of chopped veggies per person) and place in oven-proof dish (I use my black frying pan). Sprinkle over the top, 1-2 tablespoons of chopped butter per cup of veggies, and pour about 1/4 inch heavy whipping cream into the pan. Season with salt and pepper, and bake at 375 degrees until the veggies are brown around the edges and the cream and butter have been soaked into them. They are delicious just this way, or grated Parmesan cheese can be added to the top and browned under the broiler just before serving.
Put pats of butter on top of meat (lamb chops, steaks, chicken) before broiling. Add salt, pepper or any other herbs and spices on top of the butter. (Save the drippings for soup—it’s full of nutrients and flavor).
Sauté veggies in butter before adding to soup. Let them get brown around the edges, and then scrape the fond into the soup pot along with the veggies.
And this one is my favorite:
Instead of adding plain butter to my coffee (to make Bulletproof Coffee), I add what I call “butter-cream.” I put whipping cream in my blender and whip it up to just before the butter stage. It adds a certain richness to the coffee, gives me the fat that I need to feel satisfied and can be kept in the fridge for days!
Author: Carmelene Siani
Image: Instagram @pauladeen
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina