Truth and fact about the butter margarine controversy by George A.

13 08 2008

When I started cooking 5 years ago I never would use butter, I would always use the cheap substitute margarine. Being that I was younger and relatively dumb when it came to cooking, I thought that margarine was the next best thing since sliced bread. It tasted good, normally you could find a one pound box on sale for one dollar, and I used to believe the myth that margarine was much better for people to consume. But once I started culinary school and was told by several chefs that I should only use butter and not margarine I decided to take a very close look into the butter margarine controversy and want to pass that knowledge on to everyone wondering about this topic.  When I first started looking into this I bought a one pound box of butter and a one pound box of margarine in hope to find some answers to my questions. Similar to my previous post on consuming only organic products (products with little mechanical and no chemical alteration) I learned that the myth that butter is worse than margarine is simply not true. I learned that butter is indeed better because it is more of a natural product than margarine because margarine has a lot more mechanical production than butter does. When you read the nutrition labels you will find that butter does indeed have an abundance supply of vitamins while margarine does not have as much and they are mechanically added not natural like the butter. For those that are watching their daily calorie intake and think that by using margarine they are going to consume less, I found out that they have the same exact calorie amounts, who would have guessed another myth that’s bashing butter is completely inaccurate. So are most restaurants using margarine or are they all using butter? The majority of restaurants use butter and even though the price is going to be more I think that this is a way for the restaurant to charge its customer more.  Anytime a restaurant makes a pot of soup and uses a small amount of butter to make a roux, I see that restaurants are using this as an excuse to charge more for their food, and why shouldn’t they since after all they are buying more expensive butter. Now when it comes to actually cooking with butter I have a very different idea. If you’re going to be making a sauce that needs to be monter au buerre (mounted with butter) I would highly recommend you use butter because if you don’t and you substitute margarine you sauce is not going to taste the same because butter and margarine have very different tastes. But when I make spaghetti noodles I like to put a tablespoon or so of butter into the boiling water but if I have margarine I will use it because it’s cheaper and since the margarine isn’t really being used in the making of the product I think that’s it’s an appropriate substitute. I also think that substituting margarine for vegetable oil is a good compromise. Some margarine brands are even labeled that they are congealed vegetable spreads and if they are cheaper than buying a big bottle of vegetable oil I think that it’s alright to use, but remember that everyone has a different opinion on whether or not to substitute. Even though margarine is cheaper than butter, some people say that they will buy whatever tastes best. And this is one question that I can’t answer because everyone’s taste buds are different but I can tell you that margarine is inferior to the taste of butter, especially in sauce making. So whatever you chose to cook with you may want to keep some butter on hand when you’re making sauces and remember that butter is actually better than margarine, despite ancient myths.




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