An Introspective On My Life With Butter - Southern Fried Blog at - 272565

Southern Fried

An Introspective on My Life with Butter 
Apr. 10, 2012 2:26 pm 
Updated: Apr. 15, 2012 7:30 am

I’m from the South and us Southerners take our butter fairly seriously.  We like it in copious amounts on just about anything from cornbread to bullet holes because, like a bag of free money, it can make even the worst situation a bit better.

Growing up in a farmhouse that was built in 1874, it’s understandable that we had a lot of antiques lying around.  Also, the fact that it was a farmhouse also denotes that it was on a farm and thus in the middle of nowhere.  This close proximity to absolutely nothing left a lot to be desired in the ways of playmates, so I usually stuck to entertaining myself with whatever I could find.  One of the antiques I liked to play with was our spinning wheel.  I broke that fairly quickly, thus taking THAT piece of antique machinery out of my toy rotation.  I sulked for a bit but then turned my adoration on to another piece of now-archaic equipment:  our family’s butter churn. 
At this butter churn I was happily engrossed in my “I’m totally Laura Ingalls rockin’ it out on the prairie” fantasies for hours and since it was way less fragile than the spinning wheel, I was occupied, our furniture was basically unscathed, and my mom was happy on all counts.  I would eventually lose interest in pretending I was living in a little house on the prairie and would move on to pretending I was Nancy Drew, but that didn’t change how I felt about butter and the glorious effect it brought to my life.  Let me explain:
Growing up, our house was usually filled with the smell of sourdough bread.  My mom was constantly feeding her sourdough starter, kneading dough, or simply permeating my nostrils with the smell of a loaf of awesome about to come out of the oven.  Her trick to achieving a soft crust was to brush the freshly baked bread with melted butter as soon as it came out of the oven.  Be it her garlic herb bread, her cheese bread, or just her sourdough rolls, this addition allowed the buttery goodness to seep into the bread just after its completion and kept her customers clamoring for more. 
Sunday mornings were reserved for blueberry muffins, made with the blueberries we grew and preserved in the summer (if they were in season, it wasn’t unheard of for my dad to run out in the field to grab a cup of berries as my mom made up the muffin batter.  He would usually arrive a bit disgruntled, berries in hand and feet wet from dew.  By the time he took his first bite of muffin, however, the disgruntlement had usually been reversed.)  Muffins are always better with butter, but the inherent problem with muffins is that you either have to cut the muffin and place the butter inside, or put a pat on top and have it slide off on to your plate.  Cue a bowl of melted butter and me, an obvious butter connoisseur, dipping the bottom of my muffin in the liquid gold, eating the muffin upside down, and turning the world of muffin consumption, quite literally, on its head.

My final memory of growing up and loving butter lays in those hot summer Tennessee days when our garden was in full-scale production.  Days brought hours of sweating outside, battling bugs and weeds for hard-earned green beans, and nights brought plates of homegrown veggies for dinner (probably before you sat down in front of an episode of The Rockford Files while breaking up the green beans you so valiantly fought for that day.)  Corn on the cob was (and is) a particular favorite of mine, as there is nothing much better (other than the above-referenced bag of money) than fresh corn on the cob dripping with melted butter.  Toss on some salt and pepper, and you’ve got a family of corn-eaters going to town on an ear of Silver Queen in ravenous, typewriter-like motions. 
Butter takes me back to the days when all I had to worry about was picking my strawberry quota for the day.  When, after a day in the field, I could look forward to a supper of fried okra, fresh, ripe tomatoes, and squash casserole.  There were no cars breaking down, no deadlines to meet at work, and fewer worries.  It represents simplicity, a time of freedom, and a sense of home.  And really, aren’t those the most important things anyway? 

Apr. 10, 2012 6:10 pm
I envy you your childhood! However, I am making up for that, living here on the ranch. My Jersey cow provides us with all the butter we can handle, and cheese, and sour cream and...well you get the picture! Glad to meet another person who isn't afraid of real butter, which btw, is much healthier for you anyway!
Apr. 10, 2012 6:41 pm
Wonderful, fun blog! I live in an 1870 farmhouse that I wish was still in the middle of nowhere, sadly this is now suburbia! Your blog made me nostalgic, I could smell the bread baking, taste the blueberries bursting in my mouth and hear the crunch of that fresh corn...all of course dripping in butter!
Apr. 10, 2012 9:06 pm
Your childhood was a gift so many kids never had. You learned from experience how food gets to the table and how to enjoy it. Lovely blog!
Apr. 11, 2012 6:37 am
Thanks so much for all of your kind comments. My mom always told me growing up, "You may hate these green beans now, but you'll be missing them later in life." Sure enough, I am! Luckily, I can still make a run out to the farm and raid their garden :) I plan on several trips this summer to help with my squash casserole addiction - ha!
Apr. 11, 2012 6:40 am
Thank you for sharing this part of your life. Sounds like you know how to work, fix a fine meal, and live the good and simple life. Yes, real butter is far better than any fake, and far healthier. I'm curious - do you have children?
Apr. 11, 2012 8:44 am
No children - just three cats and a husband to keep me hopping these days! My niece and nephew love to visit Meemie and Sampaw at the farm though!
Apr. 11, 2012 9:09 am
Hi, Nashville Nosher - I didn't even realize you were in the AA group. I remember the first time I saw your name I was making a meatloaf recipe of yours! I have been meaning to try it again, my husband loved it. You have such wonderful memories of childhood! I really enjoyed reading what you wrote.
Apr. 11, 2012 9:54 am
Butter & The Rockford Files. Awesome combination.
Apr. 11, 2012 11:15 am
Nash Nosh, great memories you stir up :) wishing the clock went backwards ;) One year we raised so many green beans (pole beans)and because we got rain that year they grew so tall they flopped over the other sides of the fences and grew together and my kids made forts all over the garden- it was like a maze... these days we are lucky and spoiled to have asparagus... the perennial vegetable that keeps coming back! :)
Apr. 11, 2012 1:07 pm
Baker Bee - so glad you like the meatloaf! That was my first published recipe here! Doug - if only I could get Rockford to break up those green beans for me (for a mere $200 a day, right? Haha!) Goodfood: That's AWESOME - a maze in the garden? Sign me up. Some of the most fun I ever had in our garden was rotten veggie fights. We would get a bit punchy towards the end of the day and wind up tossing rotten tomatoes, strawberries, or whatever else we could find at each other!
Apr. 11, 2012 3:47 pm
I loved your line "a loaf of awesome." That's exactly how I feel when I can smell bread baking and exactly why I hate bread machines - no smell of fresh bread!!!
Apr. 13, 2012 4:29 am
Great blog, NN! I grew up a few miles from you, in Bowling Green, KY. Thanks for jogging my memory! My dad raised Silver Queen corn, too! Your mom was right, I do miss fresh grown green beans. We raised Half Runners and Kentucky Wonder beans. Ever hear of those varieties?
Apr. 15, 2012 7:30 am
My parents still raise White Half Runners! I've never heard of Kentucky Wonders, but there are very few green beans that I've met and haven't liked - ha!
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Nashville Nosher

Home Town
Springfield, Tennessee, USA
Living In
Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Member Since
Sep. 2007

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Baking, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Mexican, Italian, Southern

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About Me
I grew up on a farm in Tennessee learning how to cook what we grew in the garden. I'm definitely a Southern girl at heart and love Southern cooking. I like to say there isn't a recipe I won't try...unless it involves beets. Ha!
My favorite things to cook
Southern food! You can't go wrong with it when you cook for guests - who doesn't like macaroni and cheese? Plus, i know most of the recipes by heart, so I don't have to drag out a cookbook. It also proves the theory that enough cheese can make anything taste good.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My sister and I get together each Thanksgiving and go absolutely crazy. It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without someone making pink gravy, or potatoes turning black, or completely forgetting the squash in the I suppose I would say "Thanksgiving Mishaps" would be our tradition.
My cooking triumphs
I got my husband to enjoy salmon. Granted, we had just started dating when I made it for him and he HAD to enjoy my salmon, but I'm calling it a "W" anyway.
My cooking tragedies
Well, there were the peanut butter noodles that I made with Worschestershire sauce (note to self: just because soy sauce and Worschestershire sauce come in similarly-shaped bottles does NOT mean they are similarly-flavored.) There is also the blackened catfish that turned out more "blackened" than "catfish." My husband still teases me about that (it even made an appearance in our wedding vows!)
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