When did "butter" become a synonym for "margarine"?

One morning a couple of weeks ago, I went to the deli/convenience store across the street and ordered a sesame bagel with butter. “Sesame bagel with butter” was the exact phrase I used to order it.

On the way to work I unwrapped it and took a bite… margarine. Okay, maybe the guy just made a mistake.

So I’m back there last week, and this time I say “Do you have real butter, or just margarine?” The guy replies “Sure, we have real butter!” like it’s a silly question, I mean what kind of a crappy store would sell bagels but not have real butter, right? I order a sesame bagel with real butter, and that is what I get. It’s good, and I enjoy it.

Now this morning I go back again and order a sesame bagel with butter. I didn’t say “real butter”, because I figure by saying “butter” they would know I didn’t mean “margarine” and besides, we’d been through this once before, same guy and everything.

So what does he give me? Margarine.

These are not isolated incidents. I’ve had the same experience at more than one Dunkin Donuts as well.

Who are these people who don’t know that margarine is not butter? Do they actually think they taste the same? Or have the same texture? What do they think of us people who only like real butter? Do they think we’re super picky food-snobs, like people who will walk out of a restaurant in a huff if they don’t have authentic imported organic free-range mayonaisse?

I’m waiting for the day when I go into a shop and order a bagel, and they give me a round piece of cardboard with a hole in it. “Oh, you didn’t say you wanted a real bagel!”

When my daughter was growing up, butter was much pricier in comparison to margarine than it is these days, and we were poor. In addition, my mother was perpetually on Weight Watchers, so I don’t think that I had ever even HAD real butter until I was in my thirties. At any rate, I raised my daughter on margarine, and even now she prefers it greatly over butter. I’m so ashamed.

However, she has a touchy digestive system (gee, can’t imagine where she’d get that), and if she eats too much animal fat, she’s likely to regret it. So at least she does have an excuse for using margarine.

I think this is better suited for Mundane Pointless Stuff I Must Share, with no offense intended to the OP. Moved from The BBQ Pit.

Pit Moderator

Hear, hear. This light butter is my everyday butter:

While the light stuff is just fine, margarine will not do when you want butter. I grew up in a house with that giant tub of Shedd’s Spread Country Crock margarine, and I can’t go back to it when I visit. It’s an insult to toast once you’re used to butter.

Well, what happened was that vegetable oil looked around and realized that it was unhappy with its lot in life. After years of being called “greasy” and having to share shelf space with lard (lard, for Christ sakes!), it just got fed up with coating frying pans all the time. So it hatched a plan.

It watched. And it waited. Till one day it saw it’s opportunity.

One day, Mrs. Shoppengruvehaurmcgarvin of Minnesota accidentally put a bottle of vegetable oil in the fridge. But then she made a fatal mistake. She removed the butter from the fridge to spread on her toast, but left the butter dish unguarded! Seeing its chance, vegetable oil broke into butter’s home and stole its tax returns and credit card receipts. With the social security and credit card numbers in hand, vegetable oil was able to steal butter’s identity.

Large multi-national corporations, such as your corner deli, can only operate by using these identification numbers. They simply don’t know the difference, and vegetable oil was able to pull off the biggest identity heist in history.

Don’t ever order a buttercream cake assuming it contains any butter, or even real margarine. It’s usually all shortening, sometimes with butter flavoring in the shortening. They should come up with a different term for faux butter, like creme or *krab. *Buttre? But-ter? Butt-R?

Maybe the margarine lied to them.

I like the skit where a grieving Spanish woman is sobbing by her husband’s coffin. ‘¿Por qué?.. ¿Por qué?.. ¿Por qué?’ and the coffin lid opens a little and a voice says, ‘Butter.’

In much the same way that “Coke” means “Any cola beverage” and “Scotch” is used by the uneducated to mean “Any Whisky”, “Butter” now refers to (at least IME) “any sandwich spread that looks like butter”.

I can’t believe it’s not I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!

Real butter is liquid gold to me; I never eat it without thinking, ‘mmmmmmmm!!!’.

It amuses me when I go to a movie theater, buy popcorn, and the youngster behind the counter asks if I want butter with it. Yeah, I’d love butter on my popcorn; too bad you can’t provide it.

Don’t get me started on maple syrup. :smiley:

I’ve worked in a theater concession stand, and I know what the cleanliness standards are supposed to be, and how they are ignored. Trust me, you don’t WANT theaters to try to keep butter available. And especially you don’t want those kids in charge of it. But hell, even going back to the old coconut oil “buttery flavor” cooking and topping oil would be better than the current “buttery topping” that they use these days.

A food place representing margarine as butter is illegal. The FDA is very strict on what can be called butter.

Eh, they sell it in bulk at Sam’s Club. It’s called. But-r-Kreme or something obnoxious like that.

People buy something that sounds/is spelled suspiciously like “Butt Cream”?

That should have been what they called Olestra

penis ensues

Obviously, the world is giving you a message. You don’t put butter on a bagel. Get some cream cheese, for God’s sake!

But you’re complaining about not getting real butter when your probably not getting a real bagel, either. Accept no substitutes!

Until just a year or two ago (when they went bankrupt), there was a movie theater in Baltimore, MD, called The Senator. It was an old-time, real movie theater. Art deco marble for the floors; a big screen; showed one movie at a time; still had a curtain in front of the screen that they raised just before beginning the show; showed a cartoon before the movie; and best of all, had real butter for the popcorn! When the hubby and I lived closer to Baltimore, we would see just about any movie The Senator was showing, just because we loved the theater so much!

But for the OP, yeah. I can kind of understand some people preferring margarine to butter, but I cannot fathom people who can’t tell the difference. A friend of mine was going to the grocery store once and asked if I needed anything, and I told him to get me a pound of butter. I was very specific. “I want real butter, not margarine”. OK. Well, it was OK until he came back. . .with a pound of Country Crock quarters! Ugh. We’re still friends. . .but I think just a tiny bit less of him now. . .

On a related note - when did “hamburger” come to mean “cheeseburger”?

I order a hamburger I want a hamburger. If I wanted a cheeseburger I would have SAID “cheeseburger”!

Even more annoying are the dumbfounded looks I get when I say “I want a hamburger with NO CHEESE on it”

Fast Food Drone blinks rapidly in disbelief: “You don’t want the cheese?”

No, idiot, that’s why I said NO CHEESE! :rolleyes:

So far, the winner and still champion was the Fast Food Drone who put cheese on my burger anyway then, when I returned it and she was called to task by the manager said it was “stupid” to have a burger without cheese and she made it the way she liked it. Not clear on the concept of giving the customer what she wants, not clear at all…

I can tell the difference, but I don’t actually mind margarine. It’s come a long way from when I was a kid and margarine tasted like flavoured oil. Blecch! Now it tastes much more buttery than it used to, though it still doesn’t taste like actual butter. Still, I use margarine most of the time because I can generally get it in lower calorie varieties that still taste good.

What I like about margarine though is that it spreads much better out of the fridge. That may not be a huge issue when spreading on hot toasted items, spreading cold butter on fresh bread is like trying to peel tape off a cardboard box without tearing the cardboard. When I get a toasted bagel while out and about though, I do expect real butter.

Is it possible that it all looks alike to him, and $8.25/hr isn’t enough to to inspire passion about the work? Is it possible that some moron from the night shift who’s supposed to be setting up for breakfast puts the wrong stuff in the butter container?

Years ago I went to a deli and ordered a buttered roll, expecting a nice hard roll with real butter. What I received was a hamburger bun with margarine. I never went back. That is the difference between you and me.

This thread has made me anxious to have a sesame bagel with butter. Sesame is not even my usual bagel. Sadly, the bagel place that is about 40’ from here makes terrible bagels. A terrible bagel is not an acceptable conveyance, even for the realest of real butter. Sigh.