All Buttered Up

regular butterThis has perplexed me for 10 years, but obviously never enough to really look into the matter… until now. So for what seems to be a relatively unknown reason – in Oregon, Washington, California and Arizona – sticks of butter are shaped oddly. I’ve been here long enough that I forget about it now, until we’re watching some cooking show where she says – use half a stick of butter – and we see her cut from the long skinny stick.

Western Stubby butterI noticed almost immediately when I moved here that the butter was shaped strangely. These short sticks (called a Western Stubby) are half the length of a normal stick, but what I didn’t realize, is that they’re also fatter. So my assumption was that they were half the size of a normal stick. And when I would read recipes, especially those from my mom or friends back in the Midwest, I would think I needed to double the butter – if it said use a half-stick, I’d need to use a whole stick since mine were now half the size – no wonder some of that stuff didn’t come out quite right! Today I actually looked it up – and they are the same weight, just a different shape.

And since 46 of the 50 states use the long-skinny kind, that’s what other ‘butter related’ items are made for. Like why boxes of butter don’t fit very well in the refrigerator butter door, or why there’s so much wasted space in the butter dish (or in some cases, that the lid actually hits the butter.) ‘Cause the sticks are oddly shaped!

I guess it’s one more thing keeping Portland (and the rest of the west coast) weird! I’m just glad I now know that it’s not my cooking that made my mom’s fabulous apple crisp taste weird – it was too much butter!

4 Comments so far

  1. sabernar on May 12th, 2008 @ 10:29 pm

    I just moved to Portland and when I bought butter for the first time I, too, noticed that they were much shorter, but the fact that they were also much fatter and the same weight was also clearly evident. I’m not sure how you could have mistaken them for shorter sticks of butter, especially with the obvious tablespoon markings on the side of every single stick of butter.

  2. divebarwife on May 13th, 2008 @ 8:02 am

    well… let’s just say that 10 years ago a grilled cheese sandwich (made by toasting the bread, then melting cheese on it in the microwave) was the height of my culinary skills. An actual measurement like a tablespoon – was totally lost on me!

  3. Erica (helloerica) on May 18th, 2008 @ 10:01 am

    This is hilarious; I never even thought of the butter shape.

  4. amygeier on May 25th, 2008 @ 9:57 pm

    Okay, so are you saying 1 stick of the long-skinny butter = 1 stick of the shorter butter? I get very confused when I am baking. A recipe will call for a half-stick and I am pretty sure I have just used the whole stick of the shorter butter for like 4 years since we moved here. Have I been doubling the butter?? I never noticed that the sticks here were also fatter. Hmmmm….

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.