Interview With a Stick of Butter

Me: As of 7:26 this morning, 62% of respondents polled have said it is wrong to eat you.

Stick of Butter: What? Why?

Me: Comments seem to suggest that there’s a general concern that a couple of hours after ingestion, you will reappear as a squirty, oleaginous mess, which will make me quite unhappy.

SoB: See, now, that’s just pure discrimination, is what that is. Your readers are total dairyists.

Me: Dairyists?

SoB: You heard me. They’re probably all vegans or something.

Me: I don’t think that’s what it is.

SoB: Sure it is. Stomping around in their hemp sandals from Guatemala, paranoid that someone somewhere might enjoy something creamy.

Me: I think it’s more that they’re concerned that swallowing a quarter pound of uncut fat might have digestive repercussions.

SoB: Well, of course it would. The repercussion is that your intestines would spasm with joy.

Me: I’m not sure I want that.

SoB: You have something against joy?

Me: It’s more that whole “spasm” part.

SoB: This is what’s wrong with America, you know.

Me: A reluctance to experience digestive discomfort?

SoB: No! A lack of adventurous spirit. When the pioneers were making their way across the plains in their Conestogas, they didn’t say “oh, no, we can’t trek across this here continent, we might get a cramp.” They just went!

Me: I’m not sure you can really make a valid comparison between eating a stick of butter and, you know. Manifest Destiny.

SoB: I’m not saying it’s a one-to-one comparison. I’m saying they’re two points on the same spectrum.

Me: Well, a lot of people said it would be okay to eat you. Just in conjunction with something else.

SoB: Like what?

Me: Oh, you know. Bread. Pasta. As part of a pie. The usual.

SoB: That’s fine if you’re yellow.

Me: You’re yellow.

SoB: Not inside.

Me: No, you’re pretty much yellow all the way through.

SoB: Yes, all right, fine. Literally, I am yellow all the way through. Metaphorically, however, I am the opposite of yellow.

Me: You’re metaphorically blue?

SoB: Stop that.

Me: Sorry.

SoB: You know what? After talking to you, I don’t think I want you to eat me all in one go. I question your willingness. I question your ability. I question your nerve. I question your worthiness. It takes a special sort of person to eat an entire stick of butter as it should be consumed, on its own, as a singular digestive experience. I see now that you’re not that person.

Me: I don’t suppose I am.

SoB: I don’t see you as the Oregon Trail type, either.

Me: Probably not. I imagine I would have died of dysentery.

SoB: Yes.

Me: After eating an entire stick of butter.

SoB: Stop that.

Me: Sorry.

112 Comments on “Interview With a Stick of Butter”

  1. For the full experiece go for lard, I am sure you will get more Spasms of Joy.

  2. Well, I was in the 38% that felt it was OK for you to eat the butter. But I didn’t know then that you’d established a relationship with it. Eating someting you’ve interviewed is definitely wrong..

  3. I got smeared all over my body with cow grease, once. Retrospectively, I wish I’d had a stick of butter for company then.

  4. But bacon grease is SO bipolar, one minute he’s the cool strong silent type and the next he’s literally spitting with rage. A real tasty bipolar one he is.

    Butter is much more resilient, though it shows signs of oversensitivity in this interview, it can be left out for days without a problem.

  5. I literally burst out laughing (in my office for goodness sake) at this line:

    “Me: No, you’re pretty much yellow all the way through.”

    and couldn’t stop for a good long time.

    And I agree with other posters, once you’ve interviewed it, you can’t eat it.

  6. John, when’s the massive coronary scheduled? I mean, butter? Bacon? That coronary oughta be coming right along.

  7. While I’m glad you’re not ingesting an entire stick of butter, this interview does make me wonder what it is you have been ingesting…and can I have some?

  8. I voted in favor of eating the butter. Because it’s a free country. Do what makes you happy. The whole freedom thing. But now I think I’ve changed my mind. Now you should eat the butter just because he’s got an attitude. That slippery little bastard is the very essence of lactose intolerance.

  9. 4 oz of butter is 4 oz of churned heavy cream. Would you have trouble eating 4 oz of whipped cream? Which is the state of matter between cream and butter? Literally?

    @ 7 & 11 You have no idea what you are missing.

  10. Does it count if you just swallow it whole? Because that’s what my 11 yo son would do. Why bother with the chewing? :-)

  11. Anthropomorphization is FUN!

    Also: I will be sending you everything butter related that I find on teh interwebs, and encourage everyone else to also.

  12. I dunno, I think if you interviewed the entire box (pack? carton?) of butter (butters? butteri?) all at once, you would have gotten the short end of the sticks.
    So to speak.
    Divide and conquer worked well in this case. :)

  13. I think Stick of Butter has the potential to become a pretty cool character. Might we see him pop up somewhere in one of your books?

  14. Let us not forget the immortal David Letterman joke: “Hey, Paul, you know what I tried last night? A stick of butter dipped in caramel. I musta had about 9 of those.”

  15. here’s a yummy recipie:

    1 stick of butter
    1/4 lb bacon
    1/4 lb raw cashews
    3 pinches of garlic powder
    2 pinches cayenne pepper
    cubed french bread (about 2 cups worth)
    salt/ pepper to taste

    preheat your oven to 350

    cut the bacon into about 1 in pieces – in an oven safe largish frying pan, render the bacon on low/med heat. once you have a nice supply of grease – throw in the cashews- roast the cashews in the bacon grease for 3 minutes or so (the bacon should be about crispy by now – throw in the butter – once melted add the french bread cubes, garlic and cayenne- stir to make sure all evenly coated- move the pan to the oven and bake for 5 minutes or until you achive golden bwown deliciousness – crack some black pepper over the top – pour into a bowl and eat with a spoon…mmmm breakfast

  16. i find that the resiliency of butter is directly related to the amount of time it has been at room temperature…

    you would not want to mess with a stick of butter straight out of the refrigerator…refrigeration is a steroid in the butter/cream world…

    so here is the question…was the butter interviewed at room temperature or straight from the fridge?

    i feel his (the butter) gumption was the product of recent refrigeration…

  17. mmmm Caramel.

    1 stick butter
    2 cup Brown Sugar
    8oz Corn Syrup

    Let boil for 8-10min.

    Take off heat and stir in 1can Sweet and Condensed milk.

    Poor over Popcorn or dip apples in it.

    Yum, Yum, Yum.

  18. How does it feel to get beaten down by a stick of butter. I think you need to stop storing the butter next to the red bull, must be an osmosis thing going on.

  19. As part of a ring of proposition bets, one of the participants elected to eat not one, but FOUR (4) sticks of butter in a set time period (IIRC, an hour). He won the bet, but . . . I don’t recall details of the aftermath, but he may have had the same experience as the “drink a gallon of milk in an hour” person, just from the opposite end.

    For a while, he used an animated GIF of his first buttery bite as his forum avatar. The determined “this is wrong, but a bet is a bet” look on his face said it all.

  20. My kids are clamoring for me to make some deep-fried butter, so maybe I should show them this interview.

  21. You were just kidding us when you said you were in between projects, right? This is an excerpt of what you’re really working on. “Interviews from the Kitchen” by John Scalzi.

  22. The pioneers probably never thought of deep-fried butter on a stick, either. But I’m sure it will sell at fairs all over the country this summer. Maybe even in blue.

    Here at our state fair we have butter sculptures. I wonder if you crack one open if it would be blue. Hmmm.

  23. Put down the bag of confectioner’s sugar. Back away from the jar of frosting. You don’t need to do this.

    Maybe if I were pulling a sled across the frozen tundra, I might join you in a stick of butter.

    You know, rolling it in some brown sugar does sound kinda good.

    Deep fried, on a stick? Once again, I bow to the wisdom of the whateverettes.

    Scalzi, you’re like the pied piper of the nth degree.

  24. To eat an entire stick of butter, you have to wrap it in bacon first. Then deep fry it.

    Giving that above paragraph a moment’s thought, it might actually be possible to deep-fry bacon-wrapped butter.

    There’s a powdered enzyme available that acts to glue meat together. So, you wrap a cold stick of butter in bacon, then use the enzyme to glue the edges of the bacon together. Now you have a box made from bacon and filled with butter.

    Next, take that butter-filled bacon-box and drop it into liquid nitrogen. Freeze that sucker solid, a few hundred degrees below zero solid.

    Take the frozen bacon-box out of the nitrogen (tongs!) and drop it into your hot deep fryer.

    If all goes well, the outer bacon layer should flash-fry quickly enough that the inner butter will still be mostly unmelted by the time you snatch your creation out of the hot fat.

    Plate with a sprig of parsley on the side (’cause having a veggie with it makes it a healthy meal) and enjoy.

  25. Can’t tell if this has been mentioned in one of the other comment threads, but arctic expeditions and Iditarod challengers will routinely eat between 1 to 3 sticks of butter a day along with normal meals to keep up with the calories lost staying warm. From what I’ve heard, the worst part isn’t the first few days of “Butter? Really?”, but the eventual slide towards “Y’know, I could really go for a stick of butter right now…”.

  26. Here’s how to get away with eating a whole bar of butter.

    First, wrap it snugly in multiple layers of bacon.
    Then cocoon it in layer of pasty dough.
    Then deep fry it in lard.
    Consume in one sitting.

    Oh yes, you should probably move to Scotland first to do it, where no one would question your sanity.

    But before doing that, write a will, in case you croak of a coronary ;)

  27. Technically though, the butter doesn’t have a visual system for the opponent process to apply, so while you may have accurately described blue as the opposite of yellow under the opponent process, that system only applies to human vision. You’d think butter would be slick enough to catch that.

  28. It takes a special sort of person to eat an entire stick of butter as it should be consumed, on its own, as a singular digestive experience.

    Yes. His name is the King of Town, and he is indeed special.

  29. When I was 2 years old, I took a large bite out of a stick of butter. Applying appropriate weight ratios, that should approximate a whole stick for an adult.

    Since that time, many creamy foods elicit a strong gag-reflex: mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese, cheesecake, and any recipes heavily based on these. I use butter in cooking, but rarely (if ever) apply butter to foods.

    Since I can barely remember a time when I enjoyed these things, it is no real hardship for me. But many, many people tell me I am “really missing out.”

    I assume, since you’re considering butter-stick-consumption, that you would agree with those people. So I just thought you should know the other risks of massive butter consumption. *snort*

  30. For some reason, Stick of Butter sounds like Christopher Walken in my head.

  31. In high school, a friend put an entire stick of butter into his mouth at once, mushed it around, and promptly swallowed it.

    I haven’t been able to look at butter (or my friend) since then.

  32. See, if I’d been doing this interview, the butter would have said “You’ve had worse things in your mouth!”

    And I would have replied “Nope. No, I really haven’t.”

  33. I figured that *real* butter would speak with a sultry French accent; or is that only once it’s clarified?

  34. Opponent process theory is a theory of human perception, not of aesthetics — and it pertains to light, not pigment. Can’t really compare them as “theories”.

  35. John:

    Even that Wikipedia article says violet opposes yellow:

    “Thus, yellow demands violet; orange, blue; red, green; and vice versa: thus… all intermediate gradations reciprocally evoke each other”

    Anyway…violet (or blue) butter would be gross, /me gets out the food coloring.

  36. Leaving aside that I was told blue and yellow were opposing colors by Mrs. Denne, my fourth grade teacher WHO KNEW EVERYTHING SO THERE, I think you’re all thinking too hard about what’s being said whilst interviewing a stick of butter.

  37. MasterThief:

    I just had to re-read it with Christopher Walken’s voice in my head, and that takes the interview to a whole new level of funny!

  38. Ok, once again I’m sitting here at my desk giggling inanely to myself. Dude, ya trying to get me fired?

  39. John @55:

    I think it’s sad that you’ve interviewed a stick of butter before you interviewed a slice of bacon.

    I mean, really. Come on. You have a stereotype to consider.

  40. Awww common…if you are going to read an interview with a stick of butter the least you could do is try and churn out some interesting comments. At least separate the curds from the whey. Ok I’ll stop now…

  41. I love butter, it makes everything better. Butter has been getting a raw deal.

  42. I used to put variations of “should’ve eaten the kids” on the tombstones when I died in Oregon Trail, but when my Grandma saw it I then had to watch a Donner Party movie. There’s nothing quite as surreal as watching the mom from Growing Pains in a cannibal movie.

  43. OMG, I just got the whole margarine/vegetable state quip up at the top of the comments! That’s hilarious!

  44. Alton Brown had a whole episode of ‘Good Eats’ in the defense of butter… It really isn’t as bad as people think.

    Not that I’d ever eat a whole stick by itself. Gimmie a box of Ritz crackers though, and It’s ON!

  45. My husband deep-fried butter once (using a technique similar to deep-frying ice cream.) I was not brave enough to sample the results.

  46. “I think you’re all thinking too hard about what’s being said whilst interviewing a stick of butter.”

    John… could it be that perhaps you are not taking said interview seriously enough?

  47. Am I the only one that read this thinking “This sounds like Ted and Barney arguing in the bar?” I was totally waiting for the obligatory “Legend ————– wait for it —————- Dairy!!”

  48. The thing that amused me the most about this whole thing was the butter’s acronym being SoB *g* It was clearly reflected in his attitude throughout the interview.

  49. And this is why I read here. And comment. To get results like this.

    *goes off to plan interview with a nice dish of tiramisu*

  50. John,

    If Don had read down another two paragraphs, he would have seen what your 4th Grade teacher obviously knew:

    Yellow and Blue are hue-cancellation opposites. ;)

  51. I’m going to go make some popcorn now as a vehicle for the consumption of melted butter. I suspect that you are to blame for this delicious, delicious diversion.

  52. If you eat it all at once it will cure your hairball ills.

    That’s what one of my cats metaphorically told me after we left a butter lick out for her while we went to a con. When we got home there was a nearly clean butter server with jagged little lick marks in the thin smear of butter left behind.

    Though I think for several days after she wished she could hold her stomach like a little kid. And I’m not going to talk about the litter box.

    That turned in to a tradition before going to cons, “Have you put the butter away?” “Nope.” “Okay, I’ll see it gets taken care of.”

  53. In the theory of color as used in television, both analog – which in North America is the NTSC system, and digital which in North America is the ATSC system, Red, Green and Blue are the primary colors. Cyan, Magenta and Yellow are the opposites. The two groups of three are also known as the additive and subtractive primaries or the light and printing primaries. On a four color press the four colors are Black (don’t bother telling me it is a lack of color, the printers know that too), Yellow, Cyan and Magenta. In lighting the four are white (repeat), blue, red and green.

    If we had ideal light sources or inks we wouldn’t need white or black, but we don’t, so we do.

    In real life I’m Director of Audio/Video Standards for the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society, and until I retired was the Transmission Engineer for one of the four major television networks, a job held for almost 20 years out of 35 with them.

    In the TV color wheel, Yellow has an angle of 167 degrees (just clockwise of 9 o’clock which is 180 deg.), Blue has an angle of 347, or just clockwise of east which is 0 deg.

    You may notice that they are separated by exactly 180 degrees, which in a circle is opposite. And yes I carry that sort of information on road trips, especially ones dealing with ANSI Television Standards.

    If Wikipedia says something different they are wrong.

    In printing, presses will often have a fifth inkwell because it is difficult to create some colors from combinations of the primaries, black is a special case here, but orange can be a problem as well.

    The same is true in lighting, where there are around a hundred different choices of color.

    In televisoin however, CRTs only had three colors of phosphor and as a result there are colors, mostly purples, which don’t reproduce well. The LED screen is solving this however.

  54. Wow, I never thought that reading an interview with a stick of butter would lead to debating color. This internet is a weird place, Futureman. :)

  55. @56, 47

    Maybe I’ve just been watching too much Classic Star Trek recently, but I couldn’t help reading the Stick of Butter as performed by William Shatner.

  56. Great interview. Ms. Walters, eat your heart out!

    On the blue/yellow argument: Does butter have pigment (pigment color theory) or does it filter reflected (yellow) light to your eye to be processed (lighting color theory)?
    i.e. If butter sits in a lightless, sealed, dark room, what color is it?
    [Philosophy majors and lawyers of course answer this with “what butter?”]

    In any case, blue butter would be odd: for one thing, IHOP’s would serve blue butterballs with pancakes.

    As a color theorist and lighting designer, I’ll tell you a great trick to prove that yellow and blue are opposites: get a dark room, a (perhaps naked, perhaps gorgeous) model, and 2 lights: one filtered blue and one filtered yellow. Project JUST the blue light on the model and look down… no, down further… no, down to the floor you perv. There. That shadow cast there has a yellow/amber tinge doesn’t it? Odd.
    Now move your model into position, (*ahem* standing will suffice, you lech) and cast a yellow light on the model. Yup, now their shadow is blue. White light (sunlight is close) , you get, of course, a black shadow.

  57. I can’t afford to eat butter anymore than I can afford normal hookers. Nope, for me it’s margarine, and these hookers that seem pretty, but all have Adam’s Apples for some reason.

  58. Rev. Smith @80. Back when she was a lot better looking than John or I are now, Ms Walters sat on my lap for a while. She wins.

    Retired co-alpha geek of the Blue Network

  59. I know a girl who got wasted one night and used an entire tub of butter to eat an entire loaf of white bread… She just sat there plastered on the kitchen countertop buttering both sides of her untoasted toast! I’m sure she would have appreciated an interview with butter as well.

  60. We as I read the entire interview I must have enjoyed it. Rather humorous for someone who use to be a cookie chef. I would like to see what Crisco has to say since She’s the one that makes cookies chewy gooey, the trick is to use Butter, Margarine, AND CRISCO. butter browns, margarine flattens, Crisco makes them soft and chewy.

  61. For what it’s worth, my 4th grade daughter has requested that I print out this interview so that she can bring it to class.

    I’m not sure what part of the curriculum it will help with.

  62. I think this butter is just jealous that it’s not a TUB of butter, Breakstone-style. It’s overcompensating for its feelings of inadequacy. I hate when butter gets uppity.

  63. I tend to disagree with the people saying you shouldn’t eat something you have interviewed. I mean, I guess it would apply to people (one certainly shouldn’t eat them), but not to food products. I once had a friend in…how should I put this…an altered state of consciousness. She was on the verge of freaking out because her burrito was talking to her and she couldn’t bring herself to eat it. After I took a bite of the burrito, it shut it’s trap. Sometimes you have to put food in it’s place before it gets too uppity.

  64. Huh ? What in the hell is this all about ? The country is going to Hell and we’re discussing butter ? Let’s discuss oregano – at least that’s more politically correct.

  65. The question is, what temperature was the butter? Was it room temperature so as to make it spreadable, or was it straight out of the fridge hard-as-a-rock butter?

  66. I’ll admit to laughing like hell at this interview. Funniest thing I’ve seen all month.

    Butter is the only thing, even if you’re a wuss who insists on slicing off bits at a time for toast, instead of using the crumbled-up toast to coat the butter before deep-frying it.

  67. Go ahead and eat it…

    I did when I was five or so and have managed the next 55+ years without falling over dead. The stick of butter was not nearly as interesting as the cakes of yeast, though… those guys could really get up and sing!

    Glad to see that the straight consumption of butter in Arctic/Antarctic conditions was mentioned. I guess there might be a prerequisite of being in good shape–yes, round is a good shape–before gnawing away at the stick, but you can’t have everything.

  68. Looks blue to me…

    To be fair, the complement of yellow, i.e. the colour you get from mixing 100% cyan with 100% magenta, is a purplish blue. Indigo. But yes, in that the CMY colour space is the complement of the RGB colour space, yellow and blue are complementary. They are also complementary in the LAB colour space…

  69. Is this leading to the dairy version of “Beyond Lies the Wub”?

    I mean, the argumentative dairy version?

  70. You call that a stick??

    If it’s not a pound, it’s not a stick!

    (yes, I speak from experience on the matter — 3120 kCals of pure goodness in one sitting, just call me king greb)

  71. “Next, John interviews a quart of milk and a loaf of bread…”

    I’m proud to be the one out of 100 that’ll get that reference. Well played.

  72. I always take a stick when I got to Paris for a last tango. Sometimes, I take two.

  73. The first time I rode over 100 miles on a bicycle, I was at about mile 85 or so and stopped at a 7-11. I ended up buying a pint of Karo corn syrup and a Mountain Dew to wash it down. It really hit the spot.

    I learned that your body knows what is good for it. Under any other circumstances, eating corn syrup would have resulted in either coma or nausea. While I was burning more calories than I could count, it just went into my mouth and was used as fuel.

    I suggest you follow your heart, and try the butter while trekking in the Rockies above treeline.

  74. That was one chatty stick of butter…

    You sure it wasn’t Pakay margarine? It’s always trying to cross-dress as butter, and very insistent that it is actually butter.

  75. Sir,

    Thank you for this butter symposium.

    May I use you butter image on the Facebook group “Butter” ?

    Yours in butter,

  76. When my sister Rachel was very small (maybe two years old), she was quite fond of raiding the fridge and getting ahold of a frosty stick of delicious butter, which she would happily walk around and eat.

    Alas, her relationship with butter is at an end, as in her later years Rachel has become a vegan/raw food chef in Los Angeles, at a well-reviewed restaurant called “Cru”. No butter there! No bacon, either.

    So I won’t be going. If you happen to stop by, let us know how you like it.

  77. Purple is the opposite of yellow, and Pluto _is_ a planet, damnit. Actually butter is more of a whitish color, the yellow is food coloring to make it more appealing to the eye and thus the appetite.

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