Butter vs. margarine argument leads to attack with knife-edged barbecue spatula

"A culinary argument between a brother and sister about whether to use butter or margarine turned violent, resulting in an attack with a knife-edged barbecue spatula, police say." (Thanks, Alan!)


  1. The article reveals it was going to go in macaroni and cheese.

    Inquiring minds want to know – was it mac’n’cheese from a box, or was she making a cheese sauce from scratch?

    1. Box or scratch, does it even matter? Butter goes in both!

      That an a splash of heavy cream…

  2. When I was a kid, all of our extended families’ cars had “Butter Is Better!” bumperstickers. Some had Nixon stickers , some had McGovern stickers , but they all had the Butter stickers. We argued about stuff but never about butter.

  3. If only he had been carrying his runcible spoon, he could have defended himself.

  4. I just skip the milk and butter/margarine and just add a bit of coffee cream instead.

  5. Does margarine have any legitimate claim to continued existence other than keeping kosher? It’s not better for your health and it certainly doesn’t taste better. My aunt still complains about having to eat it during WWII.

    1. Reasons for margarine:
      1: It’s not dairy, which is a serious issue for some people
      2: Some people actually do prefer the taste and consistency of margarine, at least for things like toast (I actually can’t stand butter on toast – though i won’t even consider using margarine in baking)
      3: It keeps better

      1. Wait.. how is margarine not dairy? Some specific brands maybe, but milk is an ingredient of most margarine.

        1. Milk is an ingredient? Really? As I have always understood it, Margarine is derived primarily from corn oil and other vegetable oils and is filled with trans fat “goodness” (ie: badness).

          There are “spreads” that mix real butter with margarine, but margarine is not a dairy product. And is a poor substitute for butter.

          1. From the lovely Wikipedia:

            “The basic method of making margarine today consists, as it did in Mège-Mouriés day, of emulsifying a blend of purified vegetable oils with skimmed milk, chilling the mixture to solidify it and working it to improve the texture.”


    2. Margarine also is used by vegans to make cupcakes and other baked goods. I think even frosting for said delicacies. But, try as they might, they never seem to quite get the same yumminess as good old butter cream.

  6. O so oleaginous in origin, this strife of siblings.
    Sadly, she shall soon sense the sawing of the serrated spatula of sorrow!

    Judging from this, people have strong views on this subject:

  7. Forget both and just use some plain yogurt, it gives the mac’n cheese a nice tang. Although if yogurt isn’t available it has to be butter all the way – I don’t think margarine qualifies as food.

  8. I think the real story here is the lie of the “knife-edged barbecue spatula.” spatula? SPATULA!? It’s called a turner, motherfucker. A TURNER!! Words have meanings, you know.

  9. Family can be a challenge to handle, and food is something people seem to have extremely strong emotions about. Look what happens when people talk about religious diet restrictions, or vegetarian cooking, or genetically modified food, or irradiation. This is a BIG DEAL. Family + food = passion.

    As far as my opinion on taste, taste is partly what you’re used to. I grew up in a house where you didn’t add fat to food, period. Mashed potatoes were cooked with a touch of skim milk. Macaroni and cheese was made with skim milk and fat-free cheese. In baking, shortening would be replaced with oil; later it would be replaced with applesauce. Stirfries would be cooked oil-free in nonstick pans. I’d drink about a gallon of milk a week, but it would be skim only. Fat free ice milk for desert.

    This diet goes against conventual wisdom of what is tasty, and maybe what is healthy, but it is what tastes right to me. It reminds me home cooking, and it is how I cook today.

    I bet a lot of the butter vs margarine emotion comes down to that: taste, and memories of home (even if it is something weird like memories of seeing the same box in your parent’s pantry… I’m sure that’s why Arm and Hammer has won my baking soda business. It’s what baking soda is supposed to look like).

  10. During WW II my grandfather swore that, if rationing was ever lifted, he’d never eat margarine again. He kept that pledge until his dying day in the 80s.

    Is it true that State Troopers in some of the Dairy States stop your car to make sure that you’re not smuggling in margarine?

    BTW – There’s only a couple of monomers difference between margarine and the plastic tub that it comes in.

    1. That’s an urban legend used to scare people from Illinois into driving the posted speed. The restriction on non-dairy only held in restaurants and public institutions.

      Growing up, my mom vacillated between margarine and butter based on whatever scare-pieces happed to air on the local news. I have not and will not bring margarine into my home. Nor will I tolerate processed cheese food product. It requires all the extra adjectives because it’s.not.cheese *and* it’s.not.food.

  11. Reminds me of a Mitch Hedburg joke: Acid was my favorite drug. Because of acid, I know now that butter is way better than margarine. I saw through the bullshit.

  12. many traditional homemade Mac and Cheese recipes call for margarine. you will find plenty of people who will tell you to never use butter. It’s the only recipe I can think of that I have ever seen that explicitly calls for margarine.

  13. To those who eat butter or both, butter tastes better. To many, maybe not all, of those who exclusively or primarily eat margarine, it’s difficult to taste the difference. I’ve been on both sides of the equation, and I’ve preferred butter ever since I started using it more and more. I now use it exclusively. (One of my worst childhood food memories is of my Mother frying food in margarine. The smell was revolting.)

    A lot of recipes from food manufacturers call for using their brand of margarine (or that of another company under their corporate owner’s umbrella) instead of butter.

    I both make mac & chee from scratch & from Kraft. For the Kraft version, I use butter, add Tabasco & Worchestershire, and Velveeta (Ewwwww), but sometimes a real cheese instead. It IS a lot faster than scratch.

  14. Marge spreads from the fridge, and keeps longer. Marge tends not to have much of the bad fats any more, and the good stuff tends to have omega 3s. Marge is cheaper.

    For me, these things matter. But I’ve never been able to really taste the difference, nor between different colas.

    Current wisdom says a good marge is “less good for you” in some way than butter. Tomorrow it’ll be the other way round. Nobody cares either way: buy the one which makes you happiest and be done with it.

    1. Those laws were in force in the USA during the Second World War.

      My dad sometimes reminisces about the stuff he used to do as chores when he was a kid; among his assigned duties were cranking the mangle and shaving the fels-naptha on laundry day, and mixing the yellow coloring packet into the margarine before sunday dinner.

      My own kids claim it’s child abuse when I make them pick up their candy wrappers from the floor.

  15. Interestingly, I just learnt from an ex-pat that we don’t have “Margarine” here in the UK: we have “spreads”, which are a completely different thing.

    Flora isn’t marge? Since when?

    So, it’s possible that what I said above wasn’t relevant.

  16. So, butter and margarine is like pc’s and macs, Startrek and Starwars, Xboxs and Playstations? And it’s taken fifty years for someone to die? This is good news for the future, maybe we won’t have that 3rd world war between Burger King and McDonald’s after all.

  17. home made butter atleast has a way better taste to the stuff in stores if i had a choice i would make home made butter all the time it has a sweeter taste and less salt then store bought stuff margarine is softer and faster to melt so i go with it for most of my cooking i implore all of you to get a butter churn and make some make sure its the type with the pull dont get lazy with the hand cranked ones

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