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Old 02-27-2021, 10:59 PM   #1
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Buttergate

A while ago back during warmer weather (remember "warmer weather", northern friends?), Himself noticed several pats of butter in a prep bowl along with numerous other ingredients I would need for making bread the next day. He asked why it was there. I mentioned that it seems to take forever for butter to soften, and not even getting as soft as it used to. He found out t hat there is now an explanation for that, courtesy of an interview NPR's Ari Shapiro had with a food researcher from a Canadian university. If you want to listen to the interview, click here: https://one.npr.org/?sharedMediaId=971910738:971912666

If you would prefer reading through the transcript, click here: https://www.npr.org/2021/02/26/97191...ding%20America.

The quick summary is that palmitic acids are being added to the cows' feed. For details, read or listen above.
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Old 02-27-2021, 11:11 PM   #2
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I recently started using a butter bell. I assumed the butter’s hardness had to do with how cold my kitchen is. Never gave a thought that it might be something else.
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Old 02-27-2021, 11:23 PM   #3
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I read about that earlier today. I think there will be a big backlash against the dairy industry, here in Canada. A lot of people do what they can to avoid palm oil, because growing oil palm plantations is devastating orangutan habitat and populations.
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Old 02-28-2021, 02:05 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
I recently started using a butter bell. I assumed the butter’s hardness had to do with how cold my kitchen is. Never gave a thought that it might be something else.
I pulled my Butter Bell out after you mentioned yours recently. I put it away last autumn because the lump of butter kept falling into the water. I tried Cabot, L-O-L, and Price Chopper butter. They all did a splash down like they were space capsules on re-entry. Same thing happened last week, so the Butter Bell is back in the cupboard.

Has this ever happened to your butter?
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Old 02-28-2021, 07:19 AM   #5
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I pulled my Butter Bell out after you mentioned yours recently. I put it away last autumn because the lump of butter kept falling into the water. I tried Cabot, L-O-L, and Price Chopper butter. They all did a splash down like they were space capsules on re-entry. Same thing happened last week, so the Butter Bell is back in the cupboard.

Has this ever happened to your butter?
That's interesting. I've been using a butter bell for almost half a century and the only time the butter plopped into the water was if I didn't take care to pack it into the bell. Ima butter packin expert.

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Old 02-28-2021, 10:24 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Cooking Goddess View Post
I pulled my Butter Bell out after you mentioned yours recently. I put it away last autumn because the lump of butter kept falling into the water. I tried Cabot, L-O-L, and Price Chopper butter. They all did a splash down like they were space capsules on re-entry. Same thing happened last week, so the Butter Bell is back in the cupboard.

Has this ever happened to your butter?
No. My BB holds a stick and a half of butter. I set it out to soften then I pack it into the bell a little at a time. I use metal Oxo spreader to do the packing. I press it in tight.
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Old 02-28-2021, 11:51 AM   #7
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Have had a butter bell for several decades and I've never had the butter fall out. I usually smash it in with the back of a big spoon.
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Old 02-28-2021, 01:30 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Cooking Goddess View Post
A while ago back during warmer weather (remember "warmer weather", northern friends?), Himself noticed several pats of butter in a prep bowl along with numerous other ingredients I would need for making bread the next day. He asked why it was there. I mentioned that it seems to take forever for butter to soften, and not even getting as soft as it used to. He found out t hat there is now an explanation for that, courtesy of an interview NPR's Ari Shapiro had with a food researcher from a Canadian university. If you want to listen to the interview, click here: https://one.npr.org/?sharedMediaId=971910738:971912666

If you would prefer reading through the transcript, click here: https://www.npr.org/2021/02/26/97191...ding%20America.

The quick summary is that palmitic acids are being added to the cows' feed. For details, read or listen above.
"Food expert Dr. Sylvain Charlebois offers a potential reason why."

Dr. Charlebois is offering a theory; she has not proven it, and being a "food expert" doesn't mean she's an expert on dairy products or feed. This is a bit long (18 minutes); it's a response to her theory by a professor who does study dairy at the Michigan State University Dairy Lipid/Fatty Acid Nutrition Program
https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=453864788991009
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Old 02-28-2021, 01:31 PM   #9
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I meant to include this.
Click image for larger version

Name:	Screenshot_20210228-132359_Facebook.jpg
Views:	32
Size:	37.1 KB
ID:	45801
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Old 02-28-2021, 03:07 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Cooking Goddess View Post
I pulled my Butter Bell out after you mentioned yours recently. I put it away last autumn because the lump of butter kept falling into the water. I tried Cabot, L-O-L, and Price Chopper butter. They all did a splash down like they were space capsules on re-entry. Same thing happened last week, so the Butter Bell is back in the cupboard.

Has this ever happened to your butter?
The only time I have had this issue is if the bell is warmer than room temperature or if the water in the cup is too warm.
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Old 02-28-2021, 03:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
"Food expert Dr. Sylvain Charlebois offers a potential reason why."

Dr. Charlebois is offering a theory; she has not proven it, and being a "food expert" doesn't mean she's an expert on dairy products or feed. This is a bit long (18 minutes); it's a response to her theory by a professor who does study dairy at the Michigan State University Dairy Lipid/Fatty Acid Nutrition Program
https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=453864788991009
From the transcript of the pod cast:
Quote:
One of those sleuths tweets under the handle @foodprofessor. His name is Sylvain Charlebois, and he's director of Dalhousie University's Agri-Food Analytics
Sounds pretty expert to me.
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Old 02-28-2021, 03:28 PM   #12
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I've had my bell for about a decade. I've used it intermittently, but I never had issues with the butter slipping out until last year. I do wait for it to get soft (or as soft as it gets) and use a spoon to pack it in.

I've resorted to my Mom's old way - leave the butter dish out on the counter, period. Only I'm not using a standard dish, I just put pat-sized pieces of butter into a small milk glass bowl, then put the dish underneath my Bennington Pottery cheese dome - clear dome on a pottery base. As a plus, Himself actually thinks of using the butter when it's that way. Whenever it was in the bell he'd forget it was there. Out of sight, out of mind!
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Old 02-28-2021, 03:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
I meant to include this.
Attachment 45801
While palm oil and palmitic acid are not the same thing, palm oil is probably the main source of palmitic acid used as a feed supplement for cows.

I'm honestly more concerned with how the palmitic acid is sourced than the fact that it is used.

BTW, I haven't noticed any difference in the hardness of butter. I asked Stirling, and he hasn't noticed any difference either.
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Old 02-28-2021, 03:44 PM   #14
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...Dr. Charlebois is offering a theory; she has not proven it...
I bet someone read the transcript rather than listened to the audio clip. No, wait, even the transcript says "His name is Sylvain Charlebois". So, did you even read it?

Since Dr. Charlebois noticed this issue last December (baking Christmas cookies, perhaps?), I suppose we could refer to his comment as being in the theory stage. Whether or not it's proven is to be seen later.

Any chance that you have a transcript for that youtube clip? I'm not one for watching videos much and prefer reading. Besides, I'm listening to a spring training baseball game right now. I've got my priorities. I'll try to remember to listen later tonight if you don't have a transcript link.
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Old 02-28-2021, 04:06 PM   #15
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Actually, it's not a theory until it is proved. At the moment, it is a hypothesis.
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Old 02-28-2021, 05:44 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by taxlady View Post
From the transcript of the pod cast:
...
Sounds pretty expert to me.
He's a food policy expert who taught business administration. His expertise in not in the study of dairy lipids or cattle feed. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylvain_Charlebois

Quote:
Originally Posted by taxlady View Post
While palm oil and palmitic acid are not the same thing, palm oil is probably the main source of palmitic acid used as a feed supplement for cows.

I'm honestly more concerned with how the palmitic acid is sourced than the fact that it is used.

BTW, I haven't noticed any difference in the hardness of butter. I asked Stirling, and he hasn't noticed any difference either.
Maybe, maybe not. The same acids can be found from different sources. Some are even synthesized.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooking Goddess View Post
I bet someone read the transcript rather than listened to the audio clip. No, wait, even the transcript says "His name is Sylvain Charlebois". So, did you even read it?

Since Dr. Charlebois noticed this issue last December (baking Christmas cookies, perhaps?), I suppose we could refer to his comment as being in the theory stage. Whether or not it's proven is to be seen later.

Any chance that you have a transcript for that youtube clip? I'm not one for watching videos much and prefer reading. Besides, I'm listening to a spring training baseball game right now. I've got my priorities. I'll try to remember to listen later tonight if you don't have a transcript link.
I did read it. The phrase "suggested a potential explanation" or something similar caught my attention. I think I misread Sylvain as Sylvia, hence the mistake.

I don't see a transcript of the video, but it's based on a PowerPoint presentation, so seeing that is important.

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Actually, it's not a theory until it is proved. At the moment, it is a hypothesis.
You're right - it's a hypothesis.
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Old 02-28-2021, 06:13 PM   #17
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It is a hypothesis, an idea offered to explain phenomena. Webster's definition:
A theory is a well substantiated set of hypothesis, or observations that are generally accepted. But a theory is not a law, or absolute. It can be changed as more info is gained on a subject, or idea. Webster's definition:

1: a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena
the wave theory of light
2a: a belief, policy, or procedure proposed or followed as the basis of action
her method is based on the theory that all children want to learn
b: an ideal or hypothetical set of facts, principles, or circumstances —often used in the phrase in theory
in theory, we have always advocated freedom for all
3a: a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation
b: an unproved assumption : CONJECTURE
c: a body of theorems presenting a concise systematic view of a subject
theory of equations
4: the general or abstract principles of a body of fact, a science, or an art
music theory
5: abstract thought : SPECULATION
6: the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another
Synonyms

When it becomes an absolute, it becomes a law.

And ye, I too have noticed that butter is more firm at room temperature than it was several years back.

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Old 02-28-2021, 07:04 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Just Cooking View Post
That's interesting. I've been using a butter bell for almost half a century and the only time the butter plopped into the water was if I didn't take care to pack it into the bell. Ima butter packin expert.

Ross
The same is true for me. It's only plopped into the water if I did not take care in packing it.

I really wish that we could count on our food being raised more naturally. I do understand that many farming practices have come about to ensure food is affordable and accessible for all. Regardless....I wish I could know the methods and means which food is raised.
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Old 02-28-2021, 07:30 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
He's a food policy expert who taught business administration. His expertise in not in the study of dairy lipids or cattle feed. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylvain_Charlebois
No, but he heads a department that does have that expertise. He consulted with a lot of experts.
Quote:
Maybe, maybe not. The same acids can be found from different sources. Some are even synthesized.
...
Yes, palmitic acid could come from lots of other sources. But, the reason I think it is mostly sourced from palm oil is that it's a by product of palm oil processing. Why let it go to waste? It's likely to be one of the cheapest sources.
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Old 02-28-2021, 08:15 PM   #20
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For informational purposes: Palmitic Acid" - https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/com...nonical-SMILES

It is already a part of butter. I wonder if it could be used to solidify other oils, as it us hypothesized to firm up butter.

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