American Author’s Campaign For ‘More Butter’
Julie Powell (played by Amy Adams) asked in the historic movie, “Julie vs. Julia”, “Is there anything better than butter?” Of course not, say many voices, one of them is that of American author, Michael Ruhlman, who is a long-standing advocate of all things cooking. Ruhlman has chosen to declare July as “Butter is a Vegetable” month and he has decided to eat as much “goddamn butter” as he wants. He has made a start with Beurre Monté, which is melted butter that remains emulsified, even at high temperatures. It is basically melted butter sauce and is used in making a variety of dishes. Read on to know more about Ruhlman’s obsession with butter, but do keep an eye on the calories, lest you become hungry by the end of this blog.
The Butter is Better
Writing on his blog, Ruhlman says, “I’d like to declare July as ‘Butter is a Vegetable’ Month.” He refers to butter as a vegetable because he doesn’t want anyone, least of all the government or the Supreme Court, to legislate his intake of butter. He is miffed with the legislative ways against food as he rants, “We live in an era where our food is being legislated against, so before anyone takes away my freedom to eat as much goddamn butter as I want, I’d like to make sure it’s defined clearly, and in a way that makes it difficult for the Supreme Court to shut down or California to outlaw…..”
In order to bolster his claim, he refers to writers who have already established that futility of excessive legislation of food items in America. He talks of Dan Barber, who recently wrote in a newspaper article that “even vegetables take their toll on the earth, drawing up valuable nutrients that they store and give to us, the eaters.” As a result, he concludes, “There is no guilt-free diet.” This is apparently a dig on promoters of vegetarianism or veganism. Hope the PETA guys are listening! Another point in question is that of Michael Pollan, who noticed that since grass-fed beef was using only the grass grown freely, it was a more sustainable form of meat-eating. Ruhlman also refers to Harold McGee, fellow American author who writes about chemistry behind food and cooking. Ruhlman talks about McGee’s monumental work, “On Food and Cooking,” in which the latter writes, “The yolk is a stock pile of fuel obtained by the hen from seeds and leaves, which are in turn a stockpile of the sun’s radiant energy… An egg is the sun’s light refracted into life.” Well, taking help of this lovely phrase, Ruhlman is trying to cock a snook at people who look down upon carnivores or people indulging in fatty foods.
The Origin of Butter
Employing the same philosophy, which Barber, Pollan and McGee have used, Ruhlman tries to take some blame off of butter by tracing its origin to cows. He writes, “Because butter comes from cows – we all realize this is of course, I hope, but apparently, many of our young do not – and cows live on grass, grass that is simply transformed into milk from which we get butter. Butter is essentially grass refracted through a cow, and therefore, should be considered a vegetable.” There, you have it. That is how butter came to be a vegetable, in Ruhlman’s world.
Ruhlman started writing on food and cooking with his 1997 book, “The Making of a Chef,” for which he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America, but never graduated from there. So, you see, defying the norm has been his forte right from the beginning and if he wants to defy it with Beurre Monté, which he called cooking butter as a vegetable, there is no one to stop him. For his recipe of beurre monté, visit his blog.
And Julie Powell’s final word on the subject, “You can never have too much butter!” Well, who would disagree with that now? And if you are feeling really inspired, then here is how you can make butter at home.