Ep 31 Life Death Butter

Episode 31: Life, Death, & Butter

Join Meredith, Emily, and Frank as they explore the history of butter. Like beer, butter’s history tells the story of adaptation, survival, surplus, and innovation. Learn:

  • Why the medieval rich ate cheese and the poor ate butter – and how the Pope changed that
  • Why the Romans considered butter a barbarian medicine
  • Why nomadic people in Africa and Asia made butter a dietary staple
  • How a butter shortage in 1860 nearly brought down Louis Napoleon III
  • How cultured butter contributed to tuberculosis deaths
  • Why margarine producers and dairy farmers went to war over food dye regulations
  • How small-batch butter producers are using Victorian journals to change the butter industry
  • Why Pinterest butter tutorials are misleading
  • Why we should stop referring to the past as “a simpler time.”


Links & Additional Resources:

The History of Butter Churns

A Short History of Making Butter

What the History of Butter Can Teach Us About Food An overview of the History of Butter exhibit at the Weston Price conference in 2013.

US Patent No. 2553513 for oleomargarine package with dye, granted to William E. Denison in 1951.

American Dairying: A Manual for Butter and Cheese Makers from 1878. This is a link to the full text and illustrations from the book.

Small Batch Butter Makers Revive A Treasured Treat via Nation Geographic: The Plate. This article profiles the McBath’s of Banner Butter.