Despite its best efforts, the margarine lobby has failed to convince us that its synthetic concoctions taste anywhere near as good as butter. People eat spreads on sufferance, having been browbeaten into believing butter is bad for us. But forgoing this versatile, natural fat that graces every food it touches is a misguided penance.
Toast with a thick layer of butter is the ultimate comfort food. Without butter, there’s no golden crust on your gratin dauphinois, no dreamy bearnaise sauce. Shortbread made with margarine? Gruesome. Avoid spreadable butter: it often has oil in it, which spoils the taste and consistency.
Why is butter good for me?The nutritional gospel that saturated fat is unhealthy and fattening is melting away. A recent review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded: “There is no convincing evidence that saturated fat causes heart disease.”
Butter is an excellent source of vitamin A, D and K, essential for the efficient absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and therefore strong bones and teeth. Vitamin K also helps protect against bone calcification. Butter is rich in short- and medium-chain fatty acids, such as conjugated linoleic acids; these have a significant anti-tumour, anti-cancer action. Butter from grass-fed cows has more CLA than those fed grain, so organic butter is a wise choice. Butter has anti-fungal properties too.