‘Butter: A Rich History’, Explains Creation of Essential Dairy Product

December 13, 2016 5:00 am
Butter: A Rich History
(Godong/UIG/Getty Images)
Butter: A Rich History
(Godong/UIG/Getty Images)


Question: What are the three most important ingredients in French cooking? Answer: Butter, butter, and butter.

Full disclosure: We got that joke from the underrated Catherine Zeta-Jones movie No Reservations.

But that reminds us: One of the most essential dairy products ever created is finally getting the literary treatment it deserves. The name of that book? Butter: A Rich History.

Released last month by Algonquin Books, Butter: A Rich History is a book all about, you guessed it, butter. After traveling to three continents to track down the story of butter, award-winning food writer and former pastry chef Elaine Khosrova has written a tale as textured, culturally relevant, and irresistible as the product itself.

Butter: A Rich History
(Algonquin Books)


Khosrova’s not-small book (368 pages) includes stories of the ancient butter bogs of Ireland, the dairies of France, and the sacred butter sculptures of Tibet.

Yes, there really are sacred butter sculptures in Tibet.

The author also details butter’s role in history, politics, economics, nutrition, art, and spirituality. Turns out this delicious synthesis of butterfat, milk proteins, and water has been a gastronomic star, a culinary catalyst, and even an agent of change.

And you can expect to find plenty of core butter recipes—for everything from croissants to buttercream frosting. It even has a practical guide for making your own butter. Or better yet, shopping for the finest butter you can get your hands on.

Indeed, after reading this book, according to John T. Edge, author of The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South, “You may never eat margarine again.”

For more information on Butter: A Rich History or to buy it, go here. To read an excerpt from the book, go here.


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