It was a passing comment, but it made my ears perk up. And then, eventually, I felt ganged up on. All of it made me second-guess my entire modus operandi [mode of operation].
I had been doing the same thing for years without even so much as a thought. And now, what I considered “normal”, was being questioned. Well, let me begin at the beginning.
My sons’ gal-friends would come over to our home and help in the kitchen (which is a whole different blog.) They would inevitably put the butter dish into the refrigerator. I would, when they weren’t looking, take it out. Then one day Sarah called the king naked.
You could tell she was measuring her words as she played with the top of the butter dish, “Um, Miss Karen, do you, um, do you always leave the butter out of the refrigerator?”
(She posed this question after the passing comment: “Wow, this butter is soft!”)
Like I said, it began innocently.
I laughed and replied, “I’ve always left it out. So did my mom.”
“But….. doesn’t it go bad?” Sarah bravely asked.
“Uh, no. We use it rather quickly. I mean, I’ve never gotten sick. Neither has anyone in my family. And I don’t think any of my guests have gotten sick….” I trailed, as I considered that last line.
Thus, the butter-controversy began.
One of my sons clarified (get it??) the pro-leaving-butter-on-the-counter position with, “you can’t spread it if it stays in the fridge!” This was quickly countered by, “but it’s not safe!” The other gals chimed in, one sticking with Sarah, the other shrugging her shoulders. (She had never really thought about it. Me neither!)
And then, the seed of worry whispered: Am I slowly and silently killing my family AND MY GUESTS with millions of tiny, deadly, evil spores…or something even deadlier than tiny, deadly, evil spores….? Hmmmmmm.
So, I did what any red blooded American would do: I put the question on facebook!
OH MY GOODNESS! Seventy PLUS (70+) comments later, I was ROTFL (rolling on the floor laughing) and Sarah was rolling her eyes.
The voting was 10-1 in favor of butter on the counter. My favorite comment was from my cousin, Carl, in Maine who owns a restaurant: “I just don’t care!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” (It snows 49 weeks out of the year in Maine. I doubt it matters there…)
My question garnered many suggestions [purchase a butter crock] and links [USDA]. Sarah even chimed in again with, “butter is found in the refrigerated section in the grocery store for a reason. Butter is a dairy product. Dairy products go in the fridge.”
And then I had a conversation with an owner of a local Chick-fil-A. He had made a few phone calls, simply because he was curious. The sticking point was not, necessarily, counter or refrigerator, it was salted or unsalted. AHHHH, SALT is a preservative.
So, now, I only buy salted butter. And I only leave one stick of butter in my butter dish ON my counter. The other three sticks stay snuggly in the fridge….free from spores….or ate least the ones that grow in my sour cream…