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Old 12-12-2005, 08:58 AM   #1
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Butter vs Margarine

Most of the time I cook with/use margarine (unless I'm preparing a special recipe), as I thought marg was lower in fat and it is less expensive for everyday cooking.

I noticed the marg wouldn't rinse off the butter knife, ick, and I wondered if butter is better in the long run. Also, the color of the marg does not look appealing and does not taste good as a spread on bread etc. Is it the brand? What is the healthier better-tasting choice? I'm also wondering about the difference in the melting factor. Is butter better?


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Old 12-12-2005, 09:04 AM   #2
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Well what is better tasting is subjective and you will gets answers on both sides of the coin for that one. For me, I can't stand margarine. I used to be the other way around though. I hated butter and loved margarine. Now I have done a complete 180. Margarine just tastes fake and almost metallic to me.

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Old 12-12-2005, 09:24 AM   #3
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I very, very seldom use margarine (except for some of those 'all the ingredients in one bowl together cakes!). I cannot stand that synthetic taste or feel on the roof of my mouth!
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Old 12-12-2005, 09:31 AM   #4
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There are pros and cons. While I prefer butter for every use, it is high in saturated fat while margerines usually are not. On the other hand, margerines often contain trans-fats where butter does not.

Butter is naturally about 80%-82% fat. Margerines often have substantially less fat and that can effect cooking.

As far as taste, all the margerines are trying to taste like butter, so why not stick with the original.
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Old 12-12-2005, 09:50 AM   #5
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fat is fat as far as calories are concerned. Butter from milk has animal fat, but margerine is whipped hardened oil with added hydrogen molecules (hydrogenated fats) which give off free radicals and may in the long run be "worse" for you. It is not naturally occuring. (same problems with commercial penut butter and hard vegetable shortening.)

Butter has certain flavoring and browning characteristics that margerine doesn't have.

If a recipe calls for butter I use it. I serve it at my table (I also serve olive oil) but seldom use it. I do not use or serve margerine. If I'm going to put oil on my food it will be evoo.

fyi...cream cheese has fewer calories than margerine and is real food. The low fat versions contain gelatins, but that is better than hydrogenated oil.

Jams and jellies etc. are sweet alternatives. Natural peanut butters are awesome and a good source of healthy fat and protein.

save your free radicals for where you have less choice...shortening...or pure rather than refined lard. (I go for the pig...but that may not work in all baking needs.)

No, I'm not from Wisconsin, but I got enough Swede in me to appreciate the value of real butter.
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Old 12-12-2005, 04:57 PM   #6
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We were both brought up in families that did not have very much money, so it was margarine all the way.

Then as we got a bit older we would go to restaurants and taste butter.

We had an epiphany.

Now we only use real butter. We don't use a lot of it, but there is nothing better than the McCoy, at least in our opinion.
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Old 12-12-2005, 07:53 PM   #7
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a friend of mine once told me that humans are idiots when it comes to our own health and the foods we eat. if you want to know if its healthy...see if other animals will eat it.

so one morning i took 1/2 stick of butter and the equivalant of margarine, put them side by side on paper plates, and put them in my backyard.

within 30 mins the butter was gone (birds, squirrels where the main culprits), but the margarine went untouched.

i left the plate of margerine out all morning / afternoon, and none of gods lil critters would touch it.

that told me all i needed to know in this debate!
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Old 12-12-2005, 07:54 PM   #8
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btw...u can get 6 Lbs. of butter at Cosco for about $3 if price is a factor...
I hated going to weddings. All the grandmas would poke me saying "You're next". They stopped that when I started doing it to them at funerals.
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Old 12-12-2005, 07:56 PM   #9
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and butter freezes well for about 6 months
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Old 12-12-2005, 11:01 PM   #10
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Boy, this really gets into some heavy science! If you want to read some articles that compare butter vs margarine - here is the result of a google search on the topic. Of course - the answers for which is best go both ways, some based on scientific facts and some on opinion.

This is just a 25-cent tour:

Fats (from any source) stimulate the body to produce cholesterol. The bad cholesterol is LDL, the good cholesterol is HDL. Only oils made from animal fats actually contain cholesterol.

Saturated fats raise the levels of LDL, mono-unsaturated fats lower LDL, and poly-unsaturated fats lower both the levels of LDL and HDL. So, and oil high in monounsaturated fats, with a minimal level of poly and saturated fats (like olive oil) is better for you than one low in monounsaturated and high in poly and saturated fats.

The molecular chain for saturated fats is rather straight; unsaturated fats are curved, bent, or spirals (CIS configuration). When mono-unsaturated fats are hydrogenated - the chain straightens out (TRANS configuration) to look like a saturated fat chain - so the body treats it like one.

RE Trans-Fats: The big deal is this - for years nutritional information on packages didn't include the info on the conversion of CIS monounsaturated fats to TRANS configuration. So, while we looked at the nutritional into for the lowest saturated fat (to eat healthier) we were not aware of the amount of monounsaturated fat (which should be good for us) that was affecting our body the same as saturated fats.

Why did they do this? Saturated fats are more shelf-stable than unsaturated fats. By converting the monounsaturated fats into TRANS configuration - they had the longer keeping qualities of saturated fats - without the label scare. Yes, it was a matter of "legal" deception. The TRANS fats were still chemically monounsaturated.

As for the melting points of margarine ... it really depends on the oil and the emulsifier. Since butter-flavored hydrogenated vegetable fats (margarine) have come under scrutiny due to the trans-fats issue - some manufactures have changed how they make margarine. Some use an emulsifier such as lecithin, some use gums, some use gelatins - the oil and emulsifier additions are whipped and butter flavored - the emulsifier holds the oil in a solid state at room temperature. Some margarines were/and may still be based on a mix of animal and vegetable fats (especially oleomargarine), not pure vegetable fats.

As auntdot noted - margarine is the "poor man's" butter substitute - but that is another study in history (war time, depression era, economics, etc) ....

I, personally, have not allowed margarine in my door for 25 years unless it was called for in a baking recipe.

"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
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