Butter: A Rich History
Book Review - Butter: A Rich History by Elaine Khosrova
I'm partnering with Kristin over at Baker Bettie to bring you this book review of Butter: A Rich History by Elaine Khosrova. Join us on Wednesday, August 30 at 7pm for a virtual book club discussing all things butter , including a mini lesson on different kinds of butter used in baking by Baker Bettie and my favorite facts I learned from Elaine Khosrova's book. Didn't have time to read the book? No worries! Join us anyway. We are a fun, easy-going group. We look forward to meeting you!
What I liked most about Butter: A Rich History is the diversity of information that was provided. There is truly something for everyone from the science-lovers to the art-lovers to those who are simply butter-eaters. I fall primarily in the art-loving, butter-eating category so my favorite parts of the book centered around the early butter-making traditions and the art inspired by those traditions, including this painting by Johannes Vermeer entitled The Milkmaid.
I was also intrigued with the idea of a pleasure dairy, a place for milk products to be "to be admired and consumed." Pictured above is Marie-Antoinette’s pleasure dairy at Hameau de Versailles where the Queen and her ladies-in-waiting would dress up as dairymaids and pretend to make butter. Who knew butter would be so whimsical and romantic? Her husband built an even more elaborate pleasure dairy for her in 1787 but she was executed before she had the chance to enjoy it. I think it is time for butter artisans to bring back the idea of a pleasure dairy for us all to gather to admire and consume delicious dairy products. Who's with me?
If you've happened to see the 2011 movie on Netflix entitled Butter with Jennifer Gardner, Ty Burrell, and Hugh Jackman, you'll be surprised to learn that butter-carving is not unique to rural Iowa. Tibetan monks spend months sculpting these elaborate and colorful works of art using Yak butter. Often working in sub-zero temperatures, monks would dip their hands in snow to keep the butter from melting. It sounds extremely arduous but the process and the result syymbolize sacred Buddhist tenets.
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