Better with butter

When I was a child at home, before the invention of ‘spreadable’ butter we had block butter and block margarine for cooking and baking – I guess because margarine was cheaper. When I left home as a student, butter was beyond our means as we lived on our grants so we always had margarine, although soon there were butter-style margarines about. (We were so fortunate then to have tuition fees paid and maintenance grants – but that’s a whole different topic to write about!)

I guess I got used to margarine, but ‘used to‘ is about it – it wasn’t just the flavour, but it was the texture, the mouth-feel as they say. There is just something slimy about margarine and these days there are some very good non-dairy spreads about, but they all have that greasy slimy feel on the tongue… which is strange because butter is just dairy fat so why it is different maybe only a chemist could tell you!

We have butter at home, although we do also have ‘softer’ butter too –  spreadable but made from 100% milk products. I bake with a margarine, like my mum did, but butter goes into mashed potato, onto vegetables and to fry some things, like mushrooms. We use olive oil too, lots and lots – possibly too much…

I can’t now remember what made me think of butter this morning, but I had the phrase ‘better with a bit of butter‘ in my head; on looking it up I found there was a rhyme about ‘Betty bought a bit of butter‘ or ‘Betty Botter bought a bit of butter‘. I’d never heard of it but found it came from a rhyme written by the American poet and writer Carolyn Wells  who was born in 1862 and lived to be eighty. Her rhyme was eventually included in the Mother Goose collection –

Betty Botta bought some butter;
“But,” she said, “this butter’s bitter!
If I put it in my batter
It will make my batter bitter.
But a bit o’ better butter
Will but make my batter better.”
Then she bought a bit o’ butter
Better than the bitter butter,
Made her bitter batter better.
So ’twas better Betty Botta
Bought a bit o’ better butter.

Someone called Sam Robertson wrote this version:

This is Sam Robertson’s version.

Betty Botta bought a bit of bitter butter and she put that bitter butter in her batter and it made her batter bitter so Betty Botta bought a bit of better butter and she put that bit of better butter in her bitter batter and it made her bitter batter better

But I guess many people will always think of this version:


  1. David Lewis

    When I was a kid here in Canada margarine was sold in a block and it was pure white like lard but there was a color capsule in it which you had to squish and mix in to change the color to make it look like butter. This was government dictated so that people would know that what they were buying wasn’t butter. The dairy farmers and butter producers said they needed protection against the cheap margarine being dumped on the market. I can’t remember how long ago they quit having to do it now.We buy margarine called { I can’t believe it”s not butter } and I would challenge you to know the difference.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lois

      That sounds so extraordinary, doesn’t it?! White marg and a colour capsule!! With margarine it’s the texture of it I don’t like, it always seems slimy to me… I can’t quite describe it. I wonder if i did a blind tasting if I would know?!!


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