Thursday Trivia: Butter

A cow milking machine

This is where butter first comes from. (Image via Wikipedia.)


Butter’s been around for years. Originally it was formed from sheep and goat milk in Africa and the Middle East, with milk from cattle coming later. Around the 12th Century, the butter export trade began in Europe, specifically in Scandinavia. Further, margarine’s been around since as early as the 1860s.

So it’s pretty damn shocking to me that I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter was first sold in the U.S. in 1986! The margarine/buttermilk hybrid, further wasn’t sold in Canada and the UK until 1991, a mere 20 years ago. And frankly, I can’t believe that.

Four more bits of trivia on butter after the jump!

  • Back on the subject of ages of butter-based products, ghee, a South Asian form of clarified butter, goes as far back as the Epic of Gilgamesh. Ghee from cow’s milk plays a sacred role in Hindu libations.
  • Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup has been sold since 1961, in the signature matronly-shaped bottles; since then, she’s been in one of the more interesting ads in the history of ads.
  • Butterball sells 20% of all turkey sold in the U.S., and one billion pounds of turkey each year. Since 1981, they’ve been running the Turkey Talk-Line, a toll-free number staffed by degree-toting home economics and dietetics experts to help people cook turkeys at Thanksgiving time…
  • …and was even used by President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) on The West Wing, a show where the main Secret Service Agent was named Ron Butterfield (played by Michael O’Neill).

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