Bread and Butter.
Even in the home of a baker, where the bread was good enough to eat without any embellishments, we always had butter on the counter, soft, ready for spreading.
My dad would come home from the bakery with an armload of fresh baguettes, or a beautiful sourdough jaco, or maybe on occasion some kaiser rolls. The bread always went straight to the kitchen counter that separated the breakfast nook from the cooking area. We didn’t use bread knives, just tore off pieces as my mom was making spaghetti, or a turkey soup was slowly boiling. Every evening before dinner this happened, for as long as I can remember, and the bread was never eaten without butter. Spread thinly, sometimes not so thinly, I once questioned my dad about butter, knowing the bread could stand alone. He just laughed. It enhances all of it, Janie. The flavors, the wheat and the salt and the starter… What would bread be without butter?
Knowing what I know now, not only is bread better with butter from a taste standpoint, but mixing those carbs and fats are better for us as well. Butter is good for you! Haven’t you heard?!!!
Anyway, on this eve of Saint Brigid’s feast, we are making up a little bit of butter just for the fun of it. We already have some in the fridge, but in memory of a beloved and faithful dairymaid, we are butter churners tonight.
Here’s how you do it :
Find a cute small jar with a lid.
Add the heavy cream–not too full–only half–so that there’s room for shaking. Just cream, nothing else.
Shake–with or without music–with or without cousins… (My drama girl is always up for shaking…)
20 minutes (or less) of shaking. Shake, shake, shake! (At some point you will feel like nothing in there is moving, that’s because you have now made whipped cream! Just keep shaking, trade off between little ones and grown ups so it’s not a chore, and some bit of time after this you will hear that the butter has separated. You can shake some after this, we do, but I’m not sure it’s really necessary…)
And you have butter, and a wee bit of buttermilk, too. Strain off the buttermilk to use, or drink, (do NOT pour it down the drain; it’s too delicious) and enjoy the wonderful fruits of your shaking!
Here’s an excerpt from The Life of Saint Brigid--Brigid, a woman of Christ whom I long to emulate!
Brigid saw Christ in everyone she met, and had a particular love for those less fortunate than herself.
When the poor came knocking at the kitchen doors, Brigid handed out loaves of bread, jars of butter and jugs of milk.
With her heart and hands opened wide, she even gave away the food meant for the chieftain himself!
Cheers, dear friends. Enjoy a moment of dairy-maiding!