Better with butter

Unless you’re out, of course

December 23, 2011

Sunday’s edition of the New York Times magazine included a tiny, amusing graphic comparing holiday cookbooks by sticks of butter required. Diane Morgan’s The Christmas Table fell right in the middle, in between a butter-free book (on gluten-free and vegan holidays, duh) and the butterfest that is The Gourmet Cookie Book. As the LA Weekly noted, it just ain’t holiday time without butter:

We’re guessing that part of the point of Hanel’s graphic is to reveal the extent to which holiday cookbooks lean on butter for flavor. When cookies are a major food group, large birds need moist flesh and crisp skin, and various bland mashes and purées require seasoning beyond salt and pepper, butter steps in — much as it does at Thanksgiving, then joined not infrequently by its assertive, chain-smoking cousin bacon fat.

But what do you do if butter simply isn’t available? That’s the sticky situation right now in Norway, where a virtual butter monopoly combined with protective tariffs have meant very little butter during the butteriest season of the year. As National Public Radio noted, even “The Colbert Report” got in on the buttery action. Alas, all those traditional rounds of krumkake may have to wait till next year.

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