The state of our nation, high gas prices, global warming, a 12-month old that would rather sleep in my arms than his crib, and finding a good mascara are all things that bring me angst.
But one of the greatest frustrations in my life is trying to spread butter that is either too cold or too warm. Because unless butter is kept at the exact right temperature, it seems that I am carving it from a rock hard stick and ripping my toast apart with a frozen pat - or - I am melting the equivalent of a 1/2 cup because I put it in the microwave for too long in an attempt to soften it. And although drizzled butter goes great with popcorn, I'd prefer to have a different consistency on my toast.
Up until a few years ago, I would put butter on a small dish and keep it out on the counter. The problem was that the butter would often go bad before I used it up. So, I'd put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold and then, I would inevitably ruin the entire stick whenever I'd put it in the microwave. This scenario would repeat itself until I'd become frustrated with my inability to have spreadable butter and then, I'd leave it out on the counter.
Until it went bad.
Then, one day, I was reading blogs and lo and behold, I found what appeared to be a brilliant solution to my conundrum. Ever since I first read about this little gadget that Nettie uses in her kitchen and I thought "Wow, that looks kind of cool!" I have purchased ... brace yourself ... 60 of them.
Two for me, because I broke one.
58 for friends and family.
At any given point in time, I have a box full of crocks sitting in our closet.
Oh how I love my butter crock.
From the Norpo box, "By insulating, protecting and cooling butter, you can maintain it at a perfect spreading consistency. Water is used to provide an airtight seal protecting the flavor and freshness. For best results the Butter Keeper should be stored away from direct heat or sunlight and the water replaced every three days."
Little did I know that before refrigerators, butter was kept in earthenware pots and sometimes, submerged in water. The modern water-submerged butter crock is thought to have first appeared in France in the Middle Ages and can keep butter fresh at room temperature (up to about 80° F) on the counter for several weeks without spoiling.
Because we live in San Diego where it is around 75 degrees in our home, year round, we haven't had too many problems with the butter falling out of the crock and in to the water. But if you run in to this issue, I would suggest storing the butter crock in the refrigerator and bringing it out to "equilibrate" a few hours before you need it.
There are a large assortment of butter crocks to chose from. Here is a link with several styles available. But if you happen to come over to our house and the topic in any way, shape or form involves a discussion about butter, I will ask if you have a crock and if you don't and if you express an interest in said crockery, I will set you up.
While I'm not on the Norpro payroll, whenever I buy something on Amazon, it will always remind me that I have previously purchased butter crocks and if my supply is low, I will order more. Starting at $7.95, they are relatively inexpensive - a wonderful gadget - and a great gift.
Especially to give out to anyone and everyone that steps foot in to your home and is impressed with your ability to easily spread butter on a variety of foods.