“I shouldn’t think even millionaires could eat anything nicer than new bread and real butter and honey for tea.” ― Dodie Smith
My dearest Butter,
That I am only just writing my first love letter to you is a source of excruciating pain and embarrassment to me. How, alas, could I have been so remiss in expressing my fathomless dedication to you before now? Why, indeed, did my judgment lapse so?
I can only proceed by first submitting my sincerest of apologies. In truth, you’re always on my mind, always in my heart. In fact, I long for you, my dearest, dearest spread, and I renounce, irrefutably and absent of compunction, all weak imitations of your yellowy greatness. I’ll even state for the record: Earth Balance is a ditz; margarine is a harlot. Who, I ask, can’t believe she’s not butter? No one, I tell you, no one at all.
The truth is, this letter has been long in coming only because I’ve spent many years trying to avoid you. Yes, you may as well know the truth. I feared my passion for you would overtake me and your sweet richness would render me heart clogged, cottage-cheese thighed.
But this past Sunday, everything changed. How fitting that it should happen on God’s day, since you, my angel, must constantly be present in His kitchen, the apple of His eye (but milkier), the cream of His crop (but churnier), the pick of His litter (but not a puppy at all).
On that morning, my husband sat down to breakfast and then almost immediately rose again. He went to the fridge and brought you to the table on a simple, white plate, which turned instantly into a monstrance. This man had not consumed one unconsidered calorie in the past 10 years and I stared at him confused, blind.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m finished living without this,” he said and smoothed a dot of you onto his golden toast. You melted in response, my sweet. Of course you did, my darling.
With my eyes open for the first time in years, I followed suit and my toast was transformed. No longer was it brittle and sad, but, instead, anointed with luxury.
It’s then I realized life is not captured by calories, it lives in love. And my love for you is unending.
My first memory of you is when my dad would make popcorn on Friday nights before we watched “Dallas.” He always bought you on sale (please don’t be offended) and stuck blocks of you in the freezer (please don’t be offended). He would pull out a frozen block, open up the golden foil and slide a knife against it. A curl would be the result, a perfect curl of Butter that he would deliver to me like a host, still cold but quickly heartwarming. Then he’d melt more in the little tray atop our air popper and then a little more and a little more until the popcorn was singing with richness.
It was the very best treat. You made it that way. As you do so many things.
How many things, you many wonder? I don’t blame you for asking, after you’ve been neglected so. Let us count the ways.
I love you on corn on the cob.
I love you on warm zucchini bread.
I love what you do to pie crust.
And peach cobbler.
I love you on mashed potatoes.
And baked potatoes.
I love you browned.
I love you clarified.
I love you compounded.
I love you from France.
I love you from Ireland.
I love you from Vermont.
I love you on fresh-baked white bread.
I love you on cornbread.
I love you on biscuits.
I love you on pancakes.
I love you on waffles.
I love you plain on noodles.
I love you in alfredo.
I love you with garlic.
I love you with salt.
I love you without.
In three words, I love you. In four, I love you completely. And I will never leave you again.
“Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating.”
I remain yours,
Tara Paule Kaprowy