Like many of my spontaneous ideas, this one began with a question.
After Finn’s long fever, he broke his fast with a brunch of green eggs and toast. For some reason, I was inpsired to butter his bread. Taking a bite, he said, “I got big bite of butter on toast.”
“Yes,” I said, “I put butter on your toast today. It’s good isn’t it?”
Finn nodded, then said, “I love butter.”
“Me, too,” I said.
Then Finn looked at me and asked, “Where butter come from?”
“From cows,” I said, and his jaw dropped and eyes grew wide. “I not know that!” he said.
“You take the cream from the cow, and you shake and churn and shake and churn it, and then it turns into butter,” I said. Which he thought was pretty funny.
At this point, something possessed me from which my arteries may never recover. “You want to make some butter?”
“Right now?” he asked.
“Right now,” I answered.
And so I got a jam jar and 5 marbles. I filled the jam jar halfway up with organic whipping cream, dropped in the marbles, sealed it up, and we shook, and shook, and shook.
First, the cream turns to whipped cream. Then it expands and nearly fills the jar. Then it begins to get a little lumpy and curdle-y looking.
Then, in the final shakes, the cream seizes, and a lump of soft yellow butter separates from the butter milk. It’s extremely cool.
Drain off the milky-water liquid, fish out the marbles, and you have your butter.
Later, I read that you’re supposed to wash the butter, and work it, but it was so good we just squeezed out as much water as we could, dumped it in ramekins and ate it. It didn’t last long.
Of course, when Ella got home, she wanted to make some too, so we made another small batch.
I know this story does nothing to dispel the (sub)urban homestead aura that’s hovering around my posts these days. But truly, the only down side to this project is that the butter is so good you actually want to eat quite a lot of it.
And of course, nothing is as good as fresh bread and fresh butter, so we got out the breadmaker on Saturday and Ella made a loaf. Which is also gone.
So, in the spirit of giving thanks for cows and somewhat-mad kitchen science, let fresh butter grace all your holiday tables. Or let it make an easy but special hostess gift. We’re sure to bring some to Ella’s cousins on Thursday.