Butter... It Does A Body (And Mind) Good! - Mississippi Madness with Mrs. Redeye Blog at Allrecipes.com - 273509

Mississippi Madness with Mrs. Redeye

Butter... It does a body (and mind) good! 
Apr. 22, 2012 12:57 pm 
Updated: Apr. 24, 2012 8:20 am

Well, first things first. We didn't have butter growing up. We had margarine. Sticks & tubs. Now to be honest, I didn't know there was a difference back then and I was perfectly fine with it. We'd fight over who got the "hat" (the little swirly part) in a new tub for our cornbread. It was fine for toast & grilled cheese. We just didn't know any better. That's what Mom used, that's what Nanny & Mamaw used. I assume it was a cost issue. We definitely didn't have much money and I know they were all very frugal.

So when I was asked to blog about my memories involving butter - my initial memory was the time we'd run out of peanut butter so my older sister decided to make her own. Yes, you guessed it. Take one stick of butter (ok, margarine) and shove as many of Dad's roasted peanuts in it as you can - using your fingers, of course. Quelle Surprise! Didn't turn out quite like the crunchy Peter Pan peanut butter we were used to. Looked about as nasty as it tasted too. For this particular usage, I'm sure Mom was pleased with the fact that it had, indeed, been margarine.

Eventually I started thinking about when I began to make the margarine-to-butter switch. And it hit me. In the summer of 1993 I was a graduate student at the University of South Carolina. As part of the program, we were to do a 6-month internship abroad in our language-designated country. So this southern girl who'd never been out of the U.S. was off to Germany.

I got an internship with Bosch in the tiny town of Murrhardt, and as it happened another fellow student did too. I didn't know him very well; we'd had no classes together. I really only knew him because I'd dated his roommate earlier in the year. Even so, we discussed it and decided that in order to save costs, it would be a good idea to look for a place where we could live together. Also Kurt (this new roommate) had been in the military and lived in Germany before - and his German was excellent (mine, not so much). We each contacted the company separately asking for help finding housing (a two-bedroom, if possible) and that we would like to live together to share expenses. They found us a great place only 3 miles from the factory. We were to travel to Murrhardt and meet our new landlord, Frau Strohmaier, at the train station. And away we went!

She wasn't hard to find. We may have been the only people getting off the train at Murrhardt, and she was definitely the only woman waiting for visitors. Frau Strohmaier looked just like Aunt Bea (from the Andy Griffith show) but wearing those crazy German shoes! I later learned she was keen to heft those giant beer mugs too (quite unlike Aunt Bea). 

She took us by the grocery for before we even went to check out the apartment. Thus began my education in European grocery shopping. None of the products were what I was used to. At home I’d pretty much had the standard mass-produced sliced white bread, cornbread & biscuits – probably several others in restaurants – none of that was to be found. SO many amazing fresh-baked loaves and rolls, we had no idea which ones to choose. The same was true of cheeses, sausages and beer. But you know what they did have? Butter. Real, True, Sweet-cream Butter. And that’s when I learned to the truth about butter.

I’d never wanted to just spread butter on bread and eat it as a snack (except in a restaurant, of course). But with those hearty breads, all the new cheeses, I began smearing butter in places I’d never considered – on a roll with salami? Oh yeah! You betcha! Once I discovered that, I wanted a salami brötchen every single morning – and most days I had one (or more, if I’m honest).

Over those six months, I learned a lot about living in a new place. I learned to adapt to their way of life. I learned to celebrate the similarities as well as differences among people’s needs & likes. I learned how to properly pour a good Weiss Bier. Eventually I even learned to speak pretty good German too. And oh yes, I learned to truly appreciate of butter. Whether slathered on a roll with salami, sautéing garlic and onion on the stove, or melting in a big slice of Mom’s cornbread – It’s delicious and has no equal in margarine. Now that’s not to say margarine is bad or even that I don’t still buy & use margarine. It’s still perfectly fine for some things and the lower fat/cholesterol options are nice when considering your health. However, when you’re Not considering your health – and you’re going strictly for taste and creamy deliciousness – the choice is clear. And it’s Butter all the way. 

Oh, and if you're curious about the genius "peanut butter" maker - she later earned a degree in Chemistry and PharmD - and to this day,she still can't figure out why that peanut butter didn't work.

Kurt & I, Spring 1994
Photo Detail
Photo Detail
Apr. 22, 2012 1:24 pm
You can never have too many conversations about butter, great blog!
Apr. 22, 2012 1:27 pm
Good first blog, Staci! I enjoyed it!
Apr. 22, 2012 1:44 pm
What a wonderful memory you have to savor for your lifetime! I wish I had something like that. I am the Aunt Bea you referred to earlier. I cook with butter, never margarine. So you can imagine my size. But I figure this, if you are going to eat at least enjoy the experience. There are many things you have to do that don't "taste as good" to do.
Apr. 22, 2012 2:16 pm
Thanks, Paula & Apple. Had such a problem with formatting and couldn't get the pics in the middle. At least I'm off & running!
Apr. 22, 2012 2:18 pm
Thank you, ibbz! If you're like that Aunt Bea, I'd give you a giant hug! I searched high & low for a pic of Frau Strohmaier, but couldn't find it. Yes, a fantastic period in my life & love thinking back on it. Actually, I'm hoping to meet up with Kurt when we get to Seattle!
Apr. 22, 2012 4:09 pm
The only way I can get the pics in the middle is to do my entire blog with pictures at blogger.com. Then I copy and paste over here. I still haven't got the font size and style figured out. I hate the tiny font here in the AR blogs. (I guess I'm showing my age!)
Apr. 22, 2012 4:20 pm
HaHa! Well, I know nothing about blogger, so I guess they'll have to stay at the end :)
Apr. 22, 2012 5:59 pm
Great Blog Staci :) The peanut butter thing is so funny!
Apr. 22, 2012 7:25 pm
Thanks rae - it makes me laugh & grosses me out every time I think about it =)
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About Me
I'm not so much a person who loves to Cook, as a person who loves to EAT!!! I'm "born & raised" in Mississippi, though I've lived other places and am thrilled to be back. Married to a good ol' country boy - Jim, aka "Redeye" - who's reluctantly become a good daddy to my sweet kitty, Tallulah Belle.
My favorite things to cook
Gosh, there are lots..... Gumbo (Yum!)or anything Cajun/Creole, pasta, grilling. I don't really bake, but that's because I don't have much of a sweettooth. Bring on the potatoes & gravy, please!!
My cooking triumphs
I'm most proud of our two-year run at the Ducks Unlimited duck gumbo-cookoff here in Jackson, MS. We won people's choice each year and had a ball doing it!
My cooking tragedies
Well, there have been several.... but the worst? The absolute WORST? That would have to be the first time I tried Chicken 'n Dumplings. I was in college & had my grandmother (Nanny) on the phone giving me her instructions, and well, you know how "they" are - "a little of this, not too much of that" - that's about the best you get as far as measurements go....... SO, first she forgot to mention I needed to use PLAIN flour (not self-rising), and she said to mix in shortening..... That's about the time they had just started making butter-flavored Crisco. And of course, I thought, well heck..... If regular's good, wouldn't butter-flavored be Better?..... Suffice it to say I ended up with a big pot of almost Neon-Yellow MUSH!!!! Seriously frightening stuff!!! I was horrified and my boyfriend & roommates were none too impressed. I guess that's why Domino's does such a good business. Oh well, lesson learned. BTW - my great-aunt later taught me how SHE made dumplings! Now I'm an expert, lol.
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