Friday, August 27, 2010

No Substitutes

I am generally one of those people who you needn’t worry about impressing with fancy labels, exacting detail or taste perfection. No the only thing I need in my ‘top drawer’ is a reasonably clean pair of ‘man panties’ and maybe a sock (or two) preferably without holes in them. Now I enjoy high-brow niceties like everyone else from time to time, and more power to you if you can bring home enough extra bacon to go ‘whole hog’ on the good stuff. But for me, usually I will be just as happy with a turkey burger over a beef patty or fermented Nyquil instead of Champagne.

At Thanksgiving once my Brother-in-law was helping out with the feast and we were short on butter, so naturally I remarked “that explains the room filled with guns”. After he ignored my snide remark, he asked if I would be so kind as to procure a pound of butter for the cooks. Of course I obliged and asked if anyone else needed anything before I left, since these were the days that I did not carry a cell phone. Since it was THANKSGIVING, despite my best efforts, no discount supermarkets were open, but I did find a corner convenience store which was very busy. That makes sense because everyone knows that Thanksgiving is synonymous with Malt Liquor, cigarettes, and lottery tickets.

Amazingly the little store HAD butter but it was a whopping $5 a pound which was exactly $3 more than the margarine sticks next to it. Though it was the best I could hope for on a holiday with limited vendor choices, that margarine was still an eye-popping 100% price increase over what I typically paid at home. Anyway being practical I parted with the FOUR bucks and bought twice as many of the margarine sticks but I was still a dollar ahead over buying only one pound of real butter. I knew it was a special meal and ‘doubling down’ on buttery-goodness was the least I could do to show heartfelt appreciation for my extended family’s generous home-cooked sacrifice.

Well needless to say, my return was not greeted with as much enthusiasm as I had expected. My Brother-in-law was nowhere to be found and my distracted sister-in-law was busy finishing off some side dishes so I gave her my bountiful bag of buttery generosity. “No matter”, I thought, ”one’s good deeds need no demonstrative reward” – just knowing I calorically contributed, and soon will share in a savory family meal is the ONLY acknowledgement I need.

While waiting for the finishing touches of our lavish spread to materialize, I wandered back to the family room to terrorize my nephew and his Dad. The kid was all alone happily playing some type of video game on the television. I watched a few minutes in silence but then noticed on the coffee table, my Brother-in-law’s favorite tea mug, still warm awaiting his return. Now curious, I queried “Where’s your Dad?” to my nephew and he simply grunted ‘Out’. “Out – Out Where?” I asked suspiciously. My nephew kind of squirmed and shifted uncomfortably and then said “To get REAL butter … after you left he worried you’d get the CHEAP fake stuff”.


  1. That's so typical of family, isn't it?! Thanks for visiting My Muskoka!

  2. It's nothing but real butter for me! I have my freezer stocked full of butter, I pick some up every time I make a Costco run.

    Every thing is better with butter!

  3. It's real butter here, too, Billy.

    Your great Granny made butter every Saturday morning. I did the churning or rather shared the churning with the other kids. Not sure if your mom remembers. We'd churn away and when Granddad came home, from work at noon, he would give us each a quarter, for our "work". You know, back in those days a quarter was worth a whole lot more than it is now. When granddad returned to work after dinner (noon meal), we caught a ride to the movie theater, where that quarter paid for our admission and a bag of popcorn. Ahhh, I could go on and on....don't worry, I won't! Anyhow, all that to say, those long ago Saturdays of butter churning spoiled me for the real thing.
    Happy Weekend!

  4. Tsk, tsk, tsk. MARGARINE?!!!! How dare you? Seriously dude....butter!!! Butter is the REAL thing.

    Have you ever seen what margarine does NOT do in a super warm kitchen? doesn't melt like butter does. Ever wonder what happens to that crap when it's in your 98.6 degree body? BLECCCCH. Give me melty-butter any day over that imitation crap.

    Off my high horse now.... I suddenly have a craving for a Big Mac.

  5. I went to the store with a grocery list my wife made. She wrote it in a hurry but our son was coming to visit and didn't like regular margarine.
    One item was scrawled without proper spacing and with caps just here and there randomly. It said:
    The product was new back then. But anything you had to bring home in a hankie sounds disgusting!

    Seriously, I'm not finicky either, but often, especially when cooking, only real butter will work. But I hate the way it tears the bread and won't spread when cold. One vote for oleo!

  6. Yep, only the real thing will do. Margarine is not allowed in my house. I wonder how he knew...:)

  7. Hahaha!! That is so funny. You did get the fake stuff. The way you wrote that post made me feel like I was watching a little scene in a movie. I would've liked that movie! On another note, I am still not able to get over the fact that you and your family spent so many consecutive days at Disney! A dream come true, no? Also, I had never heard of Gilbert or Sullivan, but now that I've checked them out on Wikipedia, I do. Thanks to you I will get any questions pertaining to them correct on any future trivia games. Call me GillySulli, if you'd like. GillySulli's Break Room.

  8. Butter, Schmutter. I get whats cheapest which is usually the store brand version of Country Crock. Hey.. we po' folk and shit.