Monday, January 7, 2013

How Butter Proves the Existence of God

The existence of God is proved by the existence of butter, and not (just) because it's so tasty.

I was raised in the suburbs, with very little concept of where food came from.  Although I remember earning my "I milked a cow at the Del Mar Fair" sticker, I doubt I would have connected the dots between that cow and the stuff from the grocery store that I poured over my cereal that morning.

This disconnect wouldn't be an issue for plenty of kids who grow up in more rural areas of America or in less industrialized parts of the world or for probably anyone who lived outside of a palace for most of the history of the world.  But it was an issue for me.

So I'm really enjoying being a homeschool mom and introducing my kids to things like where butter comes from.  We have a very cute book called Colonial Days  

and in it, you can learn how to turn whipping cream into butter, just by shaking it in a jar.

(There are also plenty of great online tutorials that will teach you how to do it.)

First it's cream.  You shake it for five minutes and it's whipped cream.  You shake it for five more minutes AND IT IS BUTTER.  Delicious, delicious butter.  My mind was blown.

So, assuming you're from a time or place where milk doesn't come homogenized from a store, the timeline would look something like:
1. Squeeze cow, collect what comes out in a bucket
2. Let it sit for a bit
3. Collect cream from top (save left over skim milk for later)
4. Shake cream for 5 minutes, get whipped cream
5. Shake cream for 5 more minutes, get butter (and, hey, free bonus, also buttermilk)

Okay, here's where the existence of God part comes in.  It does not do the cow any good for her milk to turn into butter when it gets shaken.  Sure, baby cows get milk from their moms.  But never whipped cream, never buttermilk, never butter.  Because that stuff is for us.  FROM GOD.

And the farther removed we are from where our food comes from, the harder it is to see God in it.



  1. Being a suburbian mom I never knew I could shake myself some butter. Very interesting. Think I'll still go to Trader Joe's for mine.

    Love, Nana

  2. My mom used to make butter all the time, using a local farmer's unpasteurized milk so she could skim cream ... and her trusty KitchenAid standing mixer. Being an atheist, she never took the existence of God message from it ... but I dig it. :-)

  3. We had a tradition of making our own butter on Thanksgiving. Mom would give the three of us a jar and we'd have to sit on the stairs and shake it until it turned into butter. I think the purpose was to keep us out of her way in the kitchen for a bit. We continue the tradition here with my kids. Once a year makes it fun. Once a week makes it work


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