Sticks of butter: scrape 'em or slice 'em?

I’m a butter lover. When I was about four I told my grandmother that I loved the jam she used on toast. It wasn’t the jam; it was the real butter. And we always called it “real butter” because my mom only bought margarine. I hate margarine. Once I moved out, I only bought butter from then on.

I find that butter that sits out for more than half a day has a noticeable (to me) decline in flavor. It just doesn’t taste as fresh. So, I always refrigerate it. I’m a slicer. If I’m toasting an English muffin (which I eat more than toast), I’ll put the muffin in the toaster, take the butter out, slice off as many slices (too many) as I’ll need. When the muffin is done toasting, I put the slices on the muffin, then spread it starting with the first muffin to get its butter. Enough time has passed that and the muffin is hot, so it spreads without much fuss.

It works for toast, too. Doesn’t work well for untoasted bread products. In that case, I try to remember to take the butter out of the fridge for a while first, and I still use the slice ahead technique.

I keep a special stick of butter in the fridge for that purpose, and just wipe the hot toast with the stick, peeling back the paper like a crayon. Same thing for cooking pan surfaces.

I did the same when I still used sticks. Now though I tend to use tubs. And, even then, I just don’t eat it often. I actually will wind up with butter or margarine that it out of date.

Does American butter really come as a stick, or is it a block like in other countries and you just call it a stick? I’ve been wondering this for years.

Yes though you can find it in blocks, 1/2 blocks, balls, whipped and squeezey, but in general it’s 4 sticks = 1 lb package of butter.

Butter scrapers bug me. But that’s just me.

IMHO when you scrape two things happen…

  1. You have contaminated the whole stick.
  2. My slice is now smaller

I get they are not big deals but, to me, scraping the butter is a selfish act. The person is kinda making the whole stick of butter theirs.

Even worse are the people who put their whole ear of corn on the butter and spin it around.

Crumbs in the butter is a crime!

But you do realize if you’re ever confronted by a sway back stick of butter you can slice your bit as thick as you want?

There are two basic shapes you find here, depending on where in the US you live, and one is a little more “stick-like” than the other (both are 1/4 pound-- when I think of butter “blocks” I think of 1/2 or 1 pound packages):

I was confused the first time seeing the “western-packed butter” at my mother-in-law’s house is Phoenix. I had completely no idea that there were two differently shaped sticks of butter in the US.

ETA: That is, for the major American brands. You will find the Euro butters in brick/block shapes, but when somebody in the US says “a stick of butter” or “half a stick of butter,” they are talking about 1/4 pound portions of butter. The Amsih butters, for instance, will come usually in one pound blocks packaged in wax paper or similar, but if a recipe calls for a stick, you know they mean 1/4 pound.

Thanks. The one on the left is similar to the block shape we get in the UK, whereas the one on the right really is stick like. Ignorance fought!

What abomination is this?

I’m a slicer, having been raised on quarter-pound sticks. But my wife was used to uncut 1-pound blocks and those you pretty much have to scrape. I do admit that twirling an ear of sweet corn in the swayback valley does a better job of buttering it.

My childhood memory is my mom scraping the toast before buttering it, re scrape off the black char from leaving it too long in the non popup toaster.

Shave, so technically slicing I suppose. Just slices so thin they curl so I don’t have to maul the toast trying to move a pat of butter around trying to get it to melt.