On Cooking in Langley: One chef’s opinion is butter is superior

In this culinary column, Chef Dez sings the praises of butter versus margarine

When it comes to cooking, baking, and mealtime, butter has a definite role in the kitchen and at the dinner table.

I know even mentioning the comparison of butter to margarine is going to stir up a lot of opinion. But, I am going to express my view anyway.

We use butter in our home on a daily basis for cooking, baking, and serving and I cannot even remember the last time margarine made its way into my refrigerator.

In my opinion nothing is better for flavour, richness, melt ability, texture, and in moderation, health benefits.

Butter is one of the oldest and most natural products there is, yet it has taken quite a beating by margarines.

Many people buy margarine due to budgetary restrictions, but I would assume that there are just as many, if not more, who purchase it because of perceived health benefits.

Not all margarines are created equal and it is important to read the labels of any manufactured and/or processed products, including butter.

If one is purchasing margarine, one of the main things to look out for in an ingredient list is “hydrogenated” or “modified” oil.

Hydrogenation is the process used to transform liquid oil into a solid fat at room temperature. Vegetable shortening, many peanut butters, and various margarines are made in this manner and this process creates artificially produced trans fats that are now considered the worst type of fat for the heart.

Butter is not processed using hydrogenation. As a matter of fact, butter is hardly processed at all.

What butter does have is a very small amount of naturally occurring trans fat, also present in the meat of animals such as beef and lamb.

A 1994 Harvard University study, as well as research from other credible sources, have concluded that a diet high in trans fat doubles the chance for heart attack and decreases life expectancy.

While trans fats can occur naturally, they are most commonly associated with chemical preservative techniques like hydrogenation and health experts recommend that you limit your intake of hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated foodstuffs.

It is also important to point out that a two-teaspoon serving of butter usually has no more calories or fat than margarine or olive oil. So are butter, margarine, and vegetable oils bad for you?

First of all, let’s point out that the term “bad” is not very definitive. It depends on what you are looking for and it is imperative to keep in mind that there are pros and cons for everything.

Let’s face it; no matter what type of fat you are ingesting on a regular basis, moderation is the key, as with almost everything.

For instance, many doctors may tell you that red wine is good for you, but always in moderation: One glass per day may be fine but skipping the whole week and having seven glasses on Friday night, not so much.

No matter how you look at it, nothing can replace the flavour and mouth feel of butter, and also the texture created by using it in baked goods.

RECENT COLUMN: Eating my way through Portugal

.

Dear Chef Dez:

Some recipes call for unsalted butter and also call for salt. Can you please explain why?

Vivian D., Surrey, BC

.

Dear Vivian:

Usually one will often see this by pastry chefs wanting to control the amount of salt in their pastry, which is usually less than the percentage found in the butter.

Unless making very precise recipes, there is no need to use unsalted butter and I have always used salted butter for everything. It is less expensive than unsalted butter and isn’t butter expensive enough already?

.

Chef Dez is a food columnist and culinary instructor in the Fraser Valley. Visit him at www.chefdez.com. Send questions to dez@chefdez.com or to P.O. Box 2674, Abbotsford, B.C. V2T 6R4

Just Posted

UPDATED: Police looking at other collisions linked to impaired driver who allegedly struck Langley 12-year-old

One of two Friday hit-and-runs the driver is believed to be part of, Langley police say

VIDEO: World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship begins in Langley

Opening ceremony marks start of fifth edition of the championship, which is held every four years.

Late hockey player to be remembered forever with jersey retirement

Jersey wall at the Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre rink will honour Coleton Nelson

Mystery Langley lands needed for pipeline project left off records for years

The tiny slivers of land were lost due to some kind of error

Sip ‘n’ Dip returns again for adults only at Aldergrove water park

It is the third event of its kind in partnership with Trading Post Brewery

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

‘We still did not get answers’: Vancouver parents demand expulsion after students’ racist video

‘We were unable to get confirmation from the VSB, but he hasn’t returned as of yet,’ says Marie Tate

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

‘What goes up will come down’: Gas prices spike in Metro Vancouver

Petroleum analyst Dan McTeague says prices will fall Thursday

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Most Read