A butter dish might be just what you need to keep your butter at a proper spreading temperature.
I’m searching for a butter dish. For years I’ve used the flip up compartment on the refrigerator door, that was designed for butter keeping. But recently that area has become crowded with specialty butters. You know, spreads, and butters with olive oil and butters with or without salt. My most used stick of butter sits on a saucer covered with a piece of crumpled Saran. That’s not good.
Once I select a container, there’s the question of whether or not to refrigerate the butter. Keeping butter in the fridge makes it hard and flavorless. Keeping it on the counter makes for a soft, delicious spread. I read recently, that as long as it’s done right, leaving butter out at room temperature is just as safe as leaving it in the fridge.
An FDA food safety expert wrote: “One can get away with storing butter at ambient temperature for a while since the temperature usually won’t be high enough to deform or melt the product and it will not appreciably accelerate the oxidative rancidity process, meaning that the butter will keep just fine for awhile.” The operative phrase is “for awhile.”
Whether my butter is chilling out in the refrig or softening on the counter top, I think it should have a worthy container. In my quest, I turned to Amazon and found an wide variety of butter boats. I was surprised they still make butter keepers like the one used by my family when I was a kid. It was a green, Depression glass model found in the refrigerators of the 30s and 40s. Back then most glass butter dishes had a missing lid, but ours was still intact. I attribute that to my being an only child and the dish having fewer little fingers to handle it.
The Cost of Housing Your Butter
Amazon wanted $10.99 for the Depression-era replica of my childhood. Not bad, I suppose, considering the memories that such an item could churn up (excuse the pun). Because I like a bit of kitsch in the kitchen, I was attracted to the enamel Farmhouse Cow Butter Dish for $14.79. It had a nice pictograph of a cow on the lid and the words: Fresh Butter.
Some dishes ran as high as $60 and as low as $7. The Enamel Boat with Wooden Lid caught my eye because of its innovative design. The butter could be served from the boat portion or flipped over and presented on the birch lid, thus providing a wooden cutting surface. Perfect! But the price was a hefty $29.90!
A colorful Fiesta pottery dish was in the same price range, as was one by Creuset. The Lenox version reminds me of my grandmother’s butter dish. The creamy-colored French Perle still comes in an elegant, beaded motif that resembles embroidery.
I’m still mulling my decision on this. Should I go for nostalgia, bovine drawings, or the cleverest technology? My daughter says, “You’re not buying a yacht, just a butter boat, so just pick one, for heaven’s sake.”
Perhaps it would be helpful to make a trip to Sur La Tab. I could check out the various options first-hand, test the color, weight and feel of each, and see which looks best alongside a slice of buttered toast.
Butter Dish Update
Here’s my new butter dish. I went with the Enamel Boat with Wooden Lid. It arrived yesterday and I love it! The colorful design makes my refrigerator look a lot more spiffy. What’s more it’s unbreakable. Notice how the wooden lid doubles as a server/cutting board. I may have to take it to the farm with me, where more people can appreciate it.