Butter was one of the dumber, but more coherent, things I had arguments with Ian about during college.
He once said, and I quote, literally, “butter has no taste.”
As my entire school of cooking is based on “butter makes everything better” this was blasphemy. Blasphemy isn’t even a strong enough term. It was an attack on one of the only fundamental truths I hold dear. (Other less fundamental tenets of my school of cooking: fat is your friend, grease is great, breakfast is not just for breakfast, and appreciate your many meats.)
Ian’s explanation, based on his supposed knowledge of biology gained from allegedly being a biology major at a reputedly reputable institution of higher learning, was that that butter itself was not tasteable, only the salt that is in it. His case being that butter is merely a vessel for salt.
When evaluating Ian’s biological explanation for anything, I feel it is important to keep in mind this is the same Ian that after not attending a neuroscience class for an entire quarter, not reading the book, missing all the labs, when asked one hour before the final exam if he was going to study simply said, “dudey, it’s neuroscience; it’s not like it’s brain surgery.”
But regardless of my cheap-shot personal attacks on Ian’s study habits (which were, on the whole, much better than mine) the most obvious reason he is wrong is the very existence of unsalted butter, which is often called for in recipes, and which is, in general, buttery good.
Ian argued all of those recipes eventually called for salt, or something that had salt in it, or something that once sat next to salt on a shelf, or somehow, eventually, it all came down to salt.
We never settled the argument, which would likely have involved toast and butter and more butter, because we eventually got to In-N-Out, and I always get extra salt packets with my fries, and that was probably deemed a forfeit. (Besides, those fries really do need extra salt to be good.)
But while salted and unsalted butter do differ in taste, unsalted better is still good. And now I’m sure of it because I ran out of salted butter and used some very good President Beurre (it’s French, and it’s good, and it’s the reason why we should always be allies with the French) on some toast I just ate and loved it. So once again, toast saves us all.
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