My partner and I are from two separate worlds, when it comes to butter. I am from the South, from Virginia — the suburbs of Washington, DC, to be specific. Where I grew up, summers are hot and humid, and butter goes in the fridge, or else you end up with a spoiled puddle of butter. Kira hails from Santa Monica, California, right near where we live now, in Los Angeles, in a tiny hood just west of the rich part of town, which I call Beverly Hills Adjacent Adjacent. In these parts, folks leave the butter out.
Here on the Westside of LA, the temperature is moderate. The joke around here is that when there is any variation from 69 degrees and balmy we have “weather.” As the TV meteorologist says, “We have some weather coming tomorrow…”
So Kira leaves the butter out on the counter, all day, and night, and the next day. I thought she did it by accident at first. So I reminded her to put it away. That’s when she informed me that, “Butter is not supposed to go in the refrigerator.”
I pointed out to her that package even says, “Keep refrigerated,” but she insisted it was fine not to refrigerate butter, and it was better that way because the butter was soft and spreadable. But I was not okay with the risk of eating spoiled dairy.
So the butter war began, between the South and the West. Then, I finally found a solution: The Butter Bell.
The Butter Bell (www.butterbell.com, $22.95 – $29.95) is a crock designed in the style of pottery containers for butter originally used by the French to keep butter fresh on the countertop or tabletop. It is still used by chefs worldwide to safety store and serve butter so that it spreads easily on toast and other baked goods.
It works using an air-tight seal formed by a small amount (1/3 cup) of cold water at the bottom of the crock. The butter is packed into a bell-shaped inner container and then inverted into the water.
So now we have fresh, creamy butter at the perfect temperature all the time, and a nifty crock that complements our counter or table and makes a great conversation (or debate) piece.