A page from Willy Brant’s diary — I worked myself into quite a snit this morning, here; let me tell you the background.

Many years ago, when my wife was still with us, she was quite adamant that we should not be eating butter, it was full of cholesterol which would clog up our arteries and kill us by the age of oh, say, 45. But we shouldn’t eat margarine either, at least not the cheap kind. That was made out of some kind of vegetable oil which was thickened up to the right consistency by ‘hydrogenating’ it. I ‘m not sure what that means, but it looks like a factory making natural vegetable oils into something else, perhaps best described as ‘mutant vegetable grease’. Dipping into my high school chemistry, I suppose it is sort of like, if you add a carbon to a methyl alcohol molecule (toxic), it becomes ethyl alcohol (drinkable, the salvation of the navy), and if you add another carbon, it becomes propyl alcohol, toxic again. So you have to wonder if they can get that hydrogenation of the margarine so exact they don’t create small quantities of unwanted variations. Sort of like getting some methyl alcohol in your Mai Tai.

Anyway, we used nothing but the unhyrogenated, expensive kind of margarine the rest of her life, and I carried on since – I don’t try to make butter from my goat’s milk, why is a long story.

Getting back to my bad mood, I was thinking about a claim I recently read that “Well, actually, heh, heh, we made a mistake, the kind of animal cholesterol in butter is better for you than vegetable cholesterol, butter is better”. Which added to the suspicions I already had about the cholesterol/arteries thing. After all, they say that plaque in your arteries is a compound of calcium and cholesterol, that’s why they used to call it ‘hardening of the arteries’. Then they say we should have more calcium, but less cholesterol; seems like a lapse of logic, isn’t calcium harder than cholesterol?

Adding these together, I decided to switch to butter. At my age, my arteries don’t have long to go anyway.

I was disappointed; the butter I bought seemed tasteless, and so much stiffer than I remember, hard to spread at room temperature, did we keep the house warmer 50 years ago? So the next time I went shopping, I looked around, and there was some butter that was about twice as expensive. I thought that might be better, so I bought it instead.

I was spreading it on my toast this morning, and it seemed to spread better, but still tasteless and stiffer than I remember butter should be. I was reading one of my farm mags at the same time, and what a coincidence, the article I was reading said that the lard you buy in the store is hydrogenated, even though it says ‘pure lard’ on the package! If you want it the way the hog made it, you have to deal with a farmer. “Aha”, says I to myself, “they probably hydrogenate the butter too, even though it says ‘pure butter’ on the package. If you pay more, they hydrogenate it less. So the butter and lard we buy in the store might be described as ‘mutant animal grease’! I might as well go back to Becel!” And that’s when I got mad!!

The goats and chickens were not impressed with my foul mood while doing my chores. I went round to Joe’s place to vent on the subject, and he just laughed at me. “Here,” he said, “have some of this coffee, I just brewed a fresh pot. And don’t let the world get to you, if you want real butter, get a cow! After all, there is a lot more wrong with the world than stiff, tasteless butter.”

I suppose he is right, but I am still in a bad mood.

Signed, Willy

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