dinsdag 28 september 2010

food from the books

butter

this is a fatty, oily substance, made with cream taken from milk and thickend by beating.
all kinds of milk can produce butter. the richest butter, with the largest fat content, comes from goat's milk. the scythians and the paeonians introduced it into greece, hippocrates only talk of the scythians butter. horace and virgil speak of cheese, but not of butter. werther made butter poetical. it was while watching charlotte buttering bread for the children that he was overcome by that fatal passion which ended with a pistol shot.
goethe was right; children like nothing as much as buttered bread, except it is bread and jam.

in a few countries where i have travelled, i have always had freshly made butter, made on the day itself. here, for the benefit of travellers, is my recipe; it is very simple, and at the same time full-proof.

wherever i could find cow's milk or camel milk, mare's milk, goat's milk, and particularly goat's milk, i got some. i filled a bottle three quarters full, i stopped it up and i hung around the neck of my horse. i left the rest up to the horse. in the evening, when i arrived, i broke the neck of the bottle and found, within, a piece of butter the size of a fist which had virtually made itself. in africa, in the caucasus, in sicily, in spain, this method has always worhed for me.

alexandre dumas
1873

from dumas on food, the folio society 1978

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