And Now, Perhaps the Most Important Poll You’ll Take All Day
Posted on April 11, 2012 Posted by John Scalzi 334 Comments
This is a very serious question.
Explain your answer in the comments.
Posted on April 11, 2012 Posted by John Scalzi 334 Comments
This is a very serious question.
Explain your answer in the comments.
Taunting the tauntable since 1998
John Scalzi, proprietor – JS
Athena Scalzi, contributor – AMS
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There are passable butter substitutes.
Chocolate. Strawberry ice cream is better anyway.
It says “FORVER,” John.
I paused to consider a rich, beautiful chocolate ganache (my favorite form of chocolate) and then to consider a stack of hot, buttered toast.
I can live without the ganache, but I’d wear mourning weeds for a couple of years if I had to give up hot buttered toast.
As a cook, I can do many more interesting things with butter than I can with chocolate. You can’t cook an omelet with chocolate!
As mentioned, there are lots of butter substitutes, but there is *NO* replacing chocolate.
For health reasons, I can eat neither. So my vote is based on the fact that it’s generally safer for me to eat artificial butter substitutes than chocolate substitutes.
Oh, just kill me NOW.
There are passable chocolate substitutes.
I lived without butter for years, so I know I can do that without missing it too much. But chocolate would be harder.
Give up butter and you have to give up pie. You don’t want to give up pie.
Okay, you can theoretically make a pie crust without butter, but why would you want to do that to pie? Do you hate pie? What has pie ever done to you?
You can take my pie when you pry it from my warm, sticky fingers.
There are loads of butter substitutes for both spreading and baking, some of which are near identical and taste, but all the chocolate substitutes are rank tasting. I give up butter easily.
Thanks to cholesterol-fearing husband, we’re using butter subs anyway. Carob is not a chocolate substitute, no matter what the folks at my hippie college said. BLECH!
Chocolate. You can’t make a lemon tart without butter.
Because I love popcorn so much, I’ll have to give up chocolate. I’m only glad you didn’t make caffeinated cola a choice (no! don’t do it!)
Chocolate. It hurts my stomach, I don’t have a sweet tooth and I can cook way more things with butter than with chocolate. Plus, I don’t think they have children milking cows at slave plantations on the Ivory Coast.
… because I don’t put chocolate on my toast in the morning.
I’m not sure you can call it ‘living’ if you’re disallowed chocolate.
No partially hydrogenated oils for me…. I’ll give up chocolate!
I also note that there are more acceptable butter substitutes than Chocolate substitutes.
Besides, not eating chocolate marks one out as a space alien.
This is a brutal question John. I don’t eat much of either, not eating lots of chocolate or putting butter on many things. I almost chose butter to give up, until I remembered how many things it is in. So, I would reluctantly give up chocolate. But, I suspect that outside of a “gun to my head” situation, that I would fail to give it up forever.
Really not that attached to chocolate. Butter, however, goes in EVERYTHING.
In giving up chocolate, I’m only giving up chocolate. In giving up butter, I’m giving up more or less all sweets I know how to make, as well as so many tasty and delicious savory things. So it’s a no-brainer, really. Coffee and butter, now, that would be a hard decision.
Butter has like a jillion uses and chocolate is just candy. You can still have buttery desserts and cheesecake and stuff.
Fake the butter, eat the chocolate. PROBLEM SOLVED.
Chocolate. You can’t make good biscuits without butter.
You can do so many more interesting things with butter than you can with chocolate. It broke my heart to do it, but I gave up chocolate. :(
Chocolate is from a bean. Butter comes from the teat of a cow. Beans are a staple in my diet, cow teat, not so much.
Sadly, after some thought, I put down chocolate. As others have mentioned, there’s so much more that can be done with butter, things it’s it, etc, for me to give it up. Now excuse me while I go have a Cinnabon and weep over never being able to have homemade chocolate turtles again.
Hang on. After Europeans a quarter millennium ago added sugar and butterfat to chocolate, which was a bitter drink with chili peppers in the new world, sipped by royalty through a golden straw,then chocolate bars and chocolate cake and chocolate icecream were discovered as new isotopes.
In my humble opinio, as to your Bigendian vaersus Littleendian false dichotomy… The USA has one party, the Party of Incumbency. It has a loony left liberal wing and a wingnut wackjob right wing. All centrists have been stabbed in the back. We have a tetrapartite government: Executive, Legislative, Judicial, Lobby. After the Judicial appointed a President, the Lobby bought the other branches.
Definitely give up butter. Chocolate fuels my brain.
Butter. That way, I can have more guns.
I can go DAYS or WEEKS without eating chocolate. But butter….it’s what makes most baked goods, dishes and sauces what they are and worth eating. When Christmas time comes around I begin to stock up on POUNDS of butter when I can find it on sale because the price of it is normally astronomical so I can make cookies and pastries for the holidays. And when I say stock up, I mean my freezer in the winter usually has no less that 8 pounds of butter in it, and another 2 in the fridge. When it comes to making good food to give away, I don’t cut corners and use butter substitutes, that just doesn’t fly. It’s all about the butter.
I’ll give up chocolate. I cook too much to give up butter, because there are no acceptable substitutes as far as flavour goes. Besides, with butter I can make fantastic homemade caramel, which would certainly ease the sting of not having any chocolate.
I can substitute olive oil for butter in most cases. There is no substitute for chocolate.
I love butter, but I can substitute duck fat for it in many cases.
And butter for pie crust? Really?
Wait a minute. “Chocolate” =/= “cocoa solids.” I’m seeing a way around this.
Chocolate. Giving up on butter practically means not eating out, or at best limiting yourself to a very narrow selection when doing so. Giving up on chocolate means losing a lot of desserts, but there is always pie.
I can use margarine or those Brummel & Brown vegetable spreads in lieu of butter, but there’s no workable substitute for chocolate.
JvP, on topic as usual…oh wait, I meant AS on-topic as usual.
I picked butter, but really I’d probably have to kill myself if I had to give up either one.
Giving up chocolate just feels so … so … blasphemous….
As much as I love chocolate, there are too many recipes that use butter…
If the butter’s bitter, it won’t make my batter better, so I’d better beat my batter with some chocolate instead.
You are evil. I chose to give up chocolate, which would cause all my friends and loved ones to gasp with astonishment. These so-called butter substitutes that you people speak of tastes like ASS. Therefore, not a substitute at all. When I consider of life of mashed potatoes, popcorn, steamed veggies and toast without butter? Well, that’s no life at all.
A few weeks ago I went out to dinner with some friends to a hibachi restaurant and we remarked how much butter was being used in the meal and the hibachi chef said, “More butter, more better.” Indeed. I’m thinking of getting that tattooed on my arm fat.
Chocolate: can take it or leave.
Trying to cook properly without butter, impossible. Not every dish, sure, but some demand it.
Most things are fine on toast without butter (for instance, cashew butter *drool*). Olive oil (or avocado, grapeseed, almond oil, etc.) is much better for you and can be used in place of butter in cooking. Chocolate keeps me from killing stupid people, so there you go.
I voted butter–my son is dairy-allergic and there are very good butter substitutes. Not so for chocolate.
I voted to give up butter. I’m not addicted to chocolate like some folks, but I think giving up butter would cause fewer moments of agonised regret. Now, if you’d said bacon, it would be no contest.
I’m no big fan of chocolate, but I eat it voluntarily every now and then. Butter: if giving it up would magically help me to avoid it in all situations in the future, I’d pay to do it. Ew.
Without butter, you couldn’t have brownies or cake. And you couldn’t have fresh bread and butter. Or matzo and butter. Or fried eggs. Or toffee. Or pie. WITHOUT BUTTER THERE IS NO PIE!!!
My answer is (or was, until I twigged to what was going on) “what poll?”
I suppose someone should tell PollDaddy that their SSL certificate isn’t correct for static.polldaddy.com so their polls just silently disappear when you browse with HTTPS Anywhere.
Oatmeal is healthy. Real butter and brown sugar make oatmeal tasty in a way that neither chocolate nor margarine can. Thus, I would give up chocolate.
Chocolate. I’ve never been a chocoholic though I do like the occasional piece or mug of hot chocolate. However I do like my butter especially with salt on popcorn. I’ve tried the substitutes and always came back.
I don’t use butter for anything now, so I will keep my chocolate, thank you very much.
There’s no adequate substitute for butter on my popcorn. I gave up chocolate. (No subsitute for that, either, but I don’t need it for popcorn.)
This poll is going to give me nightmares. I didn’t know such a horrendous choice could even be concieved of.
Love chocolate, but it’ll go as it’s rarely part of my daily eating. Butter is the fat I use most often in cooking.
If I gave up chocolate, I’d have to give up my NUTELLA. Nothing makes me give up my NUTELLA!!
Ditto above about cooking and baking. This is a harder question than cake or death. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNjcuZ-LiSY
I’d give up butter, I hardly ever use it anyway. And even using the Dutch colloquial, which tends to use butter for margarines as well, I would prefer continued access to chocolate.
Olive oil, now that would be a different battle.
There are butter substitutes, but nothing can replace chocolate
Good chocolate is too expensive to eat regularly and affordable chocolate is too sweet – it makes my eyes feel like they are going to explode from my head.
On the other hand, no butter “substitute” exists that will allow you to make a good brown butter caramel or to properly enhance the flavor of asparagus with a warm butter sauce. You can’t get a good grilled cheese sandwich with a butter “substitute” (unless you like grilled cheese sandwiches that taste like car tires and smell worse). You can’t make good over easy eggs with butter substitutes or other oils of any sort (they all taint the flavor). And what are you going to put on your pancakes and waffles and french toast to go with the maple syrup? What are going to melt over your steak mixed with shallots and parsley and chives? There are simply too many excellent uses for butter. In fact, most of the excellent uses for chocolate require butter. So, you be inadvertently limiting yourself to essentially eating chocolate out of hand or in disgusting oil bound cakes if you got rid of butter. I’d nearly be forced to give up chocolate anyway, if I forwent butter altogether.
I’ll pick one when John gives up Coke Zero.
Chocolate, for two reasons. First, butter goes in way too many dishes. Second, you said chocolate, not cocoa, so really I’m giving up is candy bars and chocolate covered macadamia nuts. I still get hot cocoa and most ‘chocolate’ desserts because they’re made with cocoa and butter!
there is a sign in my office: Save the Earth, it’s the only planet with chocolate.
Butter, as long as that doesn’t include _peanut_ butter.
I am very attached to chocolate. But even more sensitive to the taste of butter “substitutes.” So I’d give up chocolate.
I voted to give up butter, despite its flavorsomeness and its tasty utility in cooking and baking.
But how the hell can I have a hot fudge sundae without CHOCOLATE????
Though I love chocolate, I haven’t eaten it in 21 years due to migraines. (Please dont’ tell me it’s not a trigger. It is for me.) Butter, on the hand, I use for too many delicious dishes to give it up.
Because chocolate can have dairy in it but butter doesn’t have cocoa. If I couldn’t eat chocolate I’d be forced to comfort eat butter. And that’s gross.
Butter. I hardly use it anymore as it is. I might get nostalgic for a nice baked potato, but it would be ok.
Must have butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter.
I invoke the right of Kobayashi Maru and refuse to give up either. So there.
I’d regretfully give up chocolate. But despite asseertion to the contrary in the thread above, there is no subsitute for butter. None. (There’s no real substitute for chocolate, either, but of the two, I could more easily give up the chocolate. The only real pang of regret is hot cocoa, but hey, that’s why we have hot buttered rum.)
As other folks have said, there are replacements for butter. No acceptable ones for chocolate, in my opinion.
AAAAAAGHHHHHHHHHH!!! INNER TURMOIL!!!
I postulate that giving up either one is physically impossible, but, that aside, I think the flavor of chocolate is irreplaceable. Loathe as I would be to give up the quality that baked goods derive from butter, there are ways around it. There’s no way around chocolate, though. Therefore, I would forego the butter.
give up inhaling or exhaling….
Given that I had childhood allergies to chocolate (and milk and lots of other stuff which probably contributes to my being a picky eater now) I’d say carob is a reasonable alternative. And I actually prefer margarine to butter. Which doesn’t answer the question at all, does it :-)
simple, give up butter and use itms slightly lesser cousin margarine. With chocolate you’re stuck with that awful carob garbage.
Does cocoa powder count as chocolate? Seems as if there’s a technical definition that needs to be established before such a weighty decision can be made.
Olive oil or lard will do just fine for cooking, but there’s no acceptable substitute for chocolate.
John, Did you expect the poll to skew more one way or the other than it has?
I chose butter, because with my diet I use butter substitutes and hardly ever use butter at all, but I still love my chocolate.
Sure, in or on some things, butter is the best; but the butter substitutes (usually olive oil for me) can be tolerated. I have been on a low fat diet for so long that too much butter in or on a dish actually makes me feel kind of sick. However, since both my parents died of heart disease at a realtively young age and had high cholesterol and triglycerides, I’ll stick to my diet and live longer – the lnonger to enjoy even more Scalzi books.
well, that has to be chocolate, since I put butter on almost everything. I would probably not be able to eat any vegetables if I wasn’t allowed to sauté them in butter:) Well, I know one can substitute bacon fat for that but…
I use butter all the time in cooking. It goes into sauces, finishing meats, as a binder and an emulsifier. Chocolate, while delicious, can be substituted with other desserts I love as much or more. Pie, for instance, with wonderfully tender crusts thanks to the butter in them.
Given that I avoid butter as it is it’s the obvious choice to give up. I was allergic to all dairy as a child and just never developed a taste for most dairy products, ice cream bing the big exception. I only ever eat cheese in its natural pizza state. Butter? It tastes nasty to me. I cannot fathom why people thinking pouring melted nasty tasting grease on vegetables makes them taste good. But chocolate…mmmm… one of life’s great pleasures.
Don’t like chocolate. Easy decision.
I would have to keep the butter. Even if cocoa is ruled as falling under the chocolate umbrella, butter is far more important in my cooking and baking. Now, if it was between butter and sugar I might have to think abut it a lot more.
All of the people who claim that there are “passable butter substitutes,” please don’t invite me to your house for dinner. Ugh. There are so many dishes, baked items, and sauces that CAN’T be made with a “passable substitute,” that even if I were a total chocolate fiend, it only makes sense mathematically to give up the chocolate.
I join the legion in giving up chocolate over butter – as repeatedly stated, butter goes in SO many things, and very few so-called “butter substitutes” actually work well for cooking. Furthermore, as also noted by others, my preferred kind of chocolate (milk chocolate – I know, I know) requires butter to be made – so really, there’s no choice here. I’ll live with all the other sweet things I can make with butter.
Chocolate would have to go, even though I’d miss it. I bake, and while I have used over 10 pounds of butter in a single month (yes, really), I go through chocolate at a much slower rate.
As a foodie, butter is much more important to me than chocolate. Don’t get me wrong, Reeses cups and M&Ms are great from time to time, but butter is the second most important fat for cooking! (first being bacon of course)
Olive oil is a substitute for butter. Nothing is a substitute for chocolate. And I like olive oil better than butter anyway.
Butter. I’m a margarine girl, so that’s easy. lol
Choose butter over chocolate? DUDE, ARE YOU HIGH???
To me this poll is really asking what do you hate less: Margarine (fake butter) or carob (fake chocolate)?
Since I can use shortening in pie crusts and biscuits, oils for lots of other cooking, and on the rare occasion I absolutely must spread butter on something I can use a substitute (i.e. peanut butter, Nutella, cream cheese,…;), ok maybe if I’m really desperate, margarine), I choose to keep chocolate. As many have already said, carob is not an acceptable substitute.
Butter goes…chocolate stays. Simple.
All you “I can’t give up butter!” folks: out of curiosity, when was the last time you had actual butter, and not margarine? I’m sure some of the foodies in the group do use it, but I can count the years (and nearly the decades) since I’ve eaten real, actual butter that came from milk, and not margarine made from a slurry of various vegetable oils and artificial flavorings. Even if I wasn’t a chocoholic, that makes this one an easy call, since I’ve already let butter go.
I’m salt over sweet every day. Plus, butter appears in food far more often than chocolate. It’s an easy choice.
Butter goes out. There is butter in chocolate, stupid.
I love chocolate, but butter, real-honest-to-goodness butter, is not replacable in so many dishes. And I can get a sweet fix without chocolate
I chose butter. In real life I didn’t have a choice. I was ordered by my doc to give up caffiene and thusly chocolate. *sigh*
I would give up chocolate. Because I can make some very tasty dinners and desserts if I keep the butter.
If i give up butter i give up chocolate too. You didnt specify what kind of butter… it put me in an ocd loop for a while…
Chocolate. Butter substitutes in cooking aren’t ever as good as the real thing, and I can get sweet fixes in ways other than chocolate :)
Butter stays. Mmmm… mashed potatoes…
Chocolate is a lousy lubricant.
I echo Laura Resnick’s answer: Either would be very, very bad.
My dad’s fatally allergic to chocolate, so I know it’s possible to live without chocolate, but to live WITHOUT BAKED GOODS?!!? Noooooooooooooooooooooo!
Good chocolate gives me migraines unfortunately, so the answer is pretty clear for me.
What about Cocoa Butter?
I have no idea about what those strange american companies are doing, but there is no butter in chococate as far as I am aware. There is cocoabutter, which is unrelated (it’s the pressed fats and oils from the cocoa beans) and perhaps milkpowder.
(You might lose the luxury filled chocolates with the butter, I am not certain about those)
Olive oil, peanut oil, lard — yeah, I can find substitutes for most applications of butter. If you’re talking about topping bread, there are cream cheese and peanut butter and, for the truly adventurous, Nutella. I prefer the first two to butter by a solid margin. They are more expensive, though.
Butter gets the axe. Not even close.
Kendra: I had it on my toast this morning. I don’t eat margarine or shortening, ever. I was raised on margarine and for a good 20 or 30 years, it was considered to be healthier. Then science discovered that trans fats were causing quite a lot more heart attacks than actual, real butter. Since then, trans fats have disappeared from most products, including shortenings, and have been replaced by “hydrogenated fats.” But guess what? Biochemically (and I have a M.Sc. in biochemistry), “hydrogenated fats” are awfully similar to trans fats. I’m not going to eat the new poison for the next 30 years until science catches up and discovers that hydrogenated fats, too, are poison. No, I’m skipping ahead to the obvious conclusion. Fake fats are bad for you. Even if you don’t mind slowly poisoning yourself with the new, chemically processed shortening that the food industry wants to sell us, you simply can’t get the same results cooking with shortening (or any other fat) that you do with butter. Certain recipes are impossible. Go ahead and try to make a Hollandaise sauce with olive oil. I’ll wait. :-)
I’ve never had carob. I imagine I’d just eat more strawberries. I’ve never been that passionately attached to chocolate.
Stop, its a trick. You can’t make chocolate without cocoa butter, so if you eliminate butter, you can’t have chocolate either.
Olive oil can fry my eggs. Nothing can replace the crunch of a small bit of really dark chocolate.
I like chocolate a lot, but waaaay too many good things are made with butter.
This is Sophie’s choice!
While I love all that you can do with butter (yummy, yummy, yummy) a life without chocolate is not worth living.
Here’s my thought: milk chocolate has *butter* in it. Butter wins.
Olive oil is good for you but there is no substitute, none, for chocolate.
BTW the Greeks and the Romans thought butter was just for wound-dressing. They cooked only with olive oil. If it was good enough for the people who invented democracy and the book, it’s good enough for me.
I hate to ditch butter, but margarine is better than carob, and olive oil can do a lot as well.
There really aren’t any good substitutes for chocolate but there are reasonable substitutes for butter. But perhaps I’m biased. My parents listened to that nonsense about how butter was bad for you, so I was raised with margarine in the house and only tasted real butter later in life, whereas I had real chocolate from an early age. Of course, I’ve had better chocolate since then (did you know Hershey’s is something like 10% wax?) so it’s a matter of conjecture if I really ever did have “real” chocolate until about the same time that I started eating real butter.
Butter has many more uses than chocolate.
Easy choice. I’ve never had a craving that only a slab of butter could satiate.
@Kendra: um, about five minutes ago; the last batch of Gauda we got at home is a bit salty for my taste, so the logical reaction is to eat it slathered in butter. Yes, I can give up chocolate easily, but you’ll pry my dairy products from my cold, greasy hands. My substitute for chocolate is cheese.
I am quite surprised by the results. I thought it was going to be a hard choice but then someone mentioned butter substitutes and my mind was put at ease.
Now if if was a choice between chocolate and bacon..well. -nightmares-
^^ cheese > chocolate every day of the week. Imagine mashed potatoes without butter. Ugh. Or with chocolate? Even worse.
Butter substitutes are passable. Chocolate must be pure.
Amazingly even voting. Are we all so torn?
Butter. I don’t eat it anyway; I use margarine. I just can’t imagine living life without chocolate. What horror!
I use butter more so I guess I would give up chocolate. I’m more likely to eat butter chip cookies than chocolate covered broccoli
Chocolate wins for me. Vegan baked goods can be delish. Chocolate has no substitute, but cocoa butter can be used to make substitute vegan butter. Just google Bryanna palm oil free vegan butter.
@Kendra: Almost word for word what Catherine Shaffer said. Minus the “have a M.Sc. in biochemistry” part. :p
There are lots of substitutes for butter, but none for chocolate!!!
Eh. I’m lactose intolerant and I was raised on margarine. Easy decision. For those saying there’s butter in chocolate: 1. I hardly think coacoa butter counts. 2. Milk chocolate is not chocolate. That’s like calling Kraft Singles “cheese.”
I’m a type 1 diabetic, so I avoid butter as much as I can now. I eat small amounts of the best chocolate money can buy.
I had some chocolate yesterday, I probably haven’t eaten any butter
That reminds me, I gotta put “butter flavoured powder” on my list.
I admit I’m unusual, but I simply don’t like the taste of chocolate, so this was a no-brainer for me. (I love butter, OTOH.)
LOL I picked chocolate, and the first comment says “there are passable butter substitutes.”
I beg to differ.
It’s pretty interesting that right now, the poll is 50/50.
Now I recall the European who made the Great Chocolate Leap Forward: Jean-Antheleme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826)
“Carefully prepared chocolate is as healthful a food as it is pleasant; that it is nourishing and easily digested; that it does not cause the same harmful effects to feminine beauty which are blamed on coffee, but is on the contrary a remedy for them.”
Jean-Antheleme Brillat-Savarin [The Physiology of Taste’, 1825]
This may be wrong, but it seems to me that it’s the cooks who would rather give up chocolate and that there are many chocolate lovers who might switch sides when they knew how much butter is in what they are eating now.
I vote chocolate.
There are no good butter substitutes that are food (in the Michael Pollan sense), thus I’d keep butter. At least you didn’t add bacon as a third option.
Pretty sure that you can’t *have* chocolate without cocoa butter. Thus, chocolate is out, because if I chose butter … they’d both be out.
I don’t eat much butter anyway, and while I could get by without chocolate, doing so would make life a lot more boring.
889 vs 889 butter vs chocolate 50 – 50 I should go buy a lotto ticket
Truly, this is a question about chocolate vs. the finest salted butter caramels. And caramels, I refuse to give up.
Chocolate. Delightfully scrumptious as it is I could manage without. The thought of not eating a homemade sausage roll in butter pastry (a family favourite at Christmas) would make me weep.
You’ll have to pry the butter from my cold, dead, hands.
(On the plus side, the butter won’t have melted due to their coldness.)
Chocolate…I really don’t eat all that much and I use Butter for cooking
Chocolate – good chocolate, at any rate – is what I’d hold on to. Butter is a much more ordinary fat than cocoa butter.
I bake, regularly. If I could not have butter — I could not bake a great many chocolate-free things that please me.
(Butter substitutes are really no better than chocolate substitutes, IMO.)
Butter goes better with garlic.Butter-drenched popcorn v. chocolate-drenched popcorn? No contest.Dude, I can make pastry without chocolate.And someone already mentioned toast.
Luckily, I don’t really have to give up either. Neener, neener.
Why do I never remember that your comments don’t take ordered lists?
@stanfordbinet Cocoa butter is extracted from the cocoa bean. No dairy involved.
If I may be pedantic, are we only talking about butter derived from dairy (milk/cream) or any butter (apple butter, almond butter, peanut butter, cocoa butter)?
If I’m not allowed to be pedantic, then I say a life with out either is not a life worth living! =P
Are you kidding? There’s no French food without butter!
This was a hard, hard, hard question. But in the end, I’d give up chocolate before I’d give up baking and eating croissants, biscuits, shortbread and delicious fruit pies with all-butter pastry crusts. As special as (good) chocolate is, there is a whole world of flavours out there, but for some things, there’s really no substitute for butter.
Give up chocolate. Because butter is so much more useful in creating other delicious foods.
Goodbye chocolate. I asked myself, would I eat raw chocolate chip cookie dough without the chips? Certainly. It’s the butter/sugar/egg combo that’s so good.
And the last time I had butter was yesterday, on fresh steamed asparagus. Mmmmmm. And before that was this weekend in home-made pound cake. Bacon fat and olive oil are fine things, but they’re not going in Grandma’s recipe.
I gave up mocking web polls for Lent.
Chocolate, no question. It’s sweet and tasty, but I use butter as a base ingredient in a lot of stuff, and the substitutes are NOT as good.
Bearpaw, Lent was over three days ago. Mock away!
I understood “Butter” to include expanded substitutes like margarine (and cooking oil?), since I don’t use butter at all presently. Since I’m not a huge fan of sweet snacks, I could live without chocolate, but since I use it for cooking, I need margarine.
Plus, dry toast? Gross!
I’d give up chocolate without hesitation. My bananas would feel naked for a while, but they won’t be worried for long.
I would give up butter. And that’s even considering that too much chocolate (real, good chocolate, with high cocoa content) has been known to give me hives. I would still give up butter.
Butter. Without chocolate there would be no M&Ms. Without M&Ms there would be no joy.
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Chocolate just doesn’t cut it. I’d give up butter (all the valid points about butter substitutes made above notwithstanding).
By context, it seems the question is: give up butter or chocolate? Justify your answer. My question is, where did the original question go?
Personally, I think chocolate is proof that God exists, while butter isn’t proof of anything. So, I’m kicking butter to the curb.
Picked Chocolate. As a chef, I can substitute a lot of things for butter in foods. Olive Oil mashed potatoes are awesome! Lard makes much better pies than butter, along with many other pastries. Lots of spreads can go on your toast. Butter is a fat, and there are many high quality substitutes. Chocolate is CHOCOLATE!
Butter definitely – I eat chocolate every day. I don’t eat butter every day. Not to say I wouldn’t miss it terribly but I have made fabulous apple pies and chocolate chip cookies without butter (cooking for someone who couldn’t have the cholesterol), make roasted garlic which tastes yummy without butter, and cook virtually every day without butter. But a life without chocolate is not worth living :)
More people want to give up butter than chocolate???
The world is lost.
Butter can be replaced. Chocolate is The Best Food On Earth.
On the other hand, you must FOREVER give up either air or water. Which do you give up?
You said “butter,” not “margarine.”
I’d give up chocolate. I like it but I don’t crave it. On the other hand, there is no substitute for butter on warm rolls, butter on popcorn, chipotle and lime flavored butter over steak, butter in homemade cookies, butter butter butter. Margarine and all the other spread substitutes are crap.
I am currently not eating dairy products or soy, which is a GIANT PAIN. While there are some chocolates without dairy or soy, I still picked giving up chocolate–it may be a grass-is-greener thing, but while I love chocolate dearly, butter is an ingredient in so many other foods that I like that I feel like it would give me a wider scope.
Plus my family _will_ eat hot buttered toast around me and the smell is torture, I tell you, torture! /hyperbole
I’ll keep the butter. You can’t fry oysters in chocolate.
A fairly easy decision here. I like chocolate a lot, but I’d much rather have a hot biscuit–made with lard in the dough, mind you–slathered with fresh butter than any chocolate in the world.
And an off-topic question: In general useage, is “slathered” used in any other context than “X slathered in butter?”
I like chocolate just fine, but don’t eat it with a fraction of the regularity with which I eat butter. Signed, A Southerner.
Isn’t butter in chocolate?
There are a number of yummy alternatives for butter. Coconut oil is delish and pretty good for you. Olive oil too. Lard makes excellent pie crusts. And that’s not even counting the “butter flavored” options.
Chocolate is chocolate.
Can’t decide…quality of life requires both. Sorry…
The more pertinent question is: which would you rather be paid in, better or chocolate?
Cocoa butter is part of chocolate, but it’s not actual butter. It is a butter. Meaning it is the fatty part of the cocoa bean. I’m taking the question to mean actual butter. That comes from cream. That comes from cows. No?
(Crud. Sorry ’bout my tag fail. Don’t know why I even try. Gak.)
I’d give up chocolate, that would suck so much, but giving up butter would be so much worse, butter+batter=better. butter is in everything worth eating.
Butter is mandatory in my house. I grew up on margarine and was told it was butter. I hated it and when I read all those stories about british kids eating bread&butter, I was puzzled as to why anyone would willingly eat that crap on bread. And then I tasted real butter when I was grown and it began a long and fruitful love affair that has lasted almost 20 years. I could give up chocolate, but without butter there would be no pie, no cake, no cookies, no creme brulee, no cheesecake, no lemon bars, no fruit tart, in fact almost none of the desserts in the Joy of Cooking, no perfectly fried eggs, no buttered pasta, no buttered popcorn, no buttered toast… I couldn’t leave butter. It would kill me.
I chose butter, now I’m just going to go to my corner and cry.
I’d give up butter. Having grown up on a farm, I have plenty of access to cream, then take the cream and churn it, and produce a sufficient “I can’t believe it doesn’t taste like the butter I get in the stores” substitute.
Chocolate, as far as I am aware, can only be acquired by stealing it from the gods.
Thank you, Mr. Scalzi, for asking the question that triggered today’s fiction writing, which begins:
Ch. 334: “Chongqing” of the novel/trilogy Alzheimer’s War
[draft of 13:50-14:20, Wednesday 11 April 2012, 5 pages double-spaced; 1,350 words]
I remember vividly that April day eight years ago, in 2012. She popped an imported Belgian chocolate truffle into my mouth, there beneath a sidewalk Ginkgo tree, between a hot pot restaurant and a mah-jongg parlor, with a breeze blowing from the Yangtze River, near Chongqing’s People’s Square, a tree-lined swath of red and gray tile sandwiched between an imposing government building and a leafy hillside.
“Carefully prepared chocolate is as healthful a food as it is pleasant;” I said. “that it is nourishing and easily digested; that it does not cause the same harmful effects to feminine beauty which are blamed on coffee, but is on the contrary a remedy for them.”
“Who said that?” she replied. “Sound old-fashioned and sexist.”
“Jean-Antheleme Brillat-Savarin,” I said, “1755 to 1826, in his 1825 book The Physiology of Taste.”
That was the shocking month right after the charismatic local party chief, Bo Xilai, had been fired by the national Communist Party leadership in China’s most high-profile political shake-up in 20 years….
I’m lactose intolerant. I’ve already given up butter forever!
There are plenty of adiquate if not spectaular substitutes for butter but nothing on earth to replace chocolate.
I barely use butter. Keeping kosher means that I need to use non-dairy substitutes often. That said, I eat chocolate with some regularity.
Dear heavens, what a choice…. but it had to be butter – chocolate is indispensible at certain times of the month.
Butter. Olive oil, shortening, lard (that’s right, I said lard, people – my grandmother cooked with it her whole 95-year-old life), butter substitutes. I can bake or cook anything, with our without butter. But chocolate…oh sweet, sweet chocolate…there is absolutely no substitute.
How does this break down along gender lines? Are women more likely to get rid of the butter to keep the sacred chocolate? I know it sounds stereotypical, but it is a mainstay for so many women I know.
[Deleted for being off-topic and weirdly ranty besides — JS]
[Likewise deleted — JS]
I grew up with butter in the house all of the time. Nevertheless, my choice is easy; most of the time, I buy I can’t believe it’s not butter anyway, so giving up on my occasional urges to have butter around would not be that hard. Chocolate, on the other hand, I can’t resist.
Right now chocolate is barely in the lead with 1293 vs butter at 1281.
I chose butter. Without it, I’d never eat a vegetable again.
I.Cannot. Live. Without. Butter. Margarine is made of evil! Evil! (And tastes/is nearly the same as plastic) I can live without chocolate & flavoured stuff. But my omelettes aren’t good without butter. :(
My college argumentation prof used to say that you can often win or lose an argument based on the quality of your definitions. Therefore, let’s go to Wikipedia and see — does chocolate has butter in it?
According to the article: “Chocolate is a range of products derived from cocoa (cacao), mixed with fat (i.e. cocoa butter and/or plant oils) and finely powdered sugar to produce a solid confection. There are several types of chocolate according to the proportion of cocoa used in a particular formulation.”
So, cocoa butter is *not* butter* From the cocoa butter article: “Cocoa butter, also called theobroma oil, is a pale-yellow, pure, edible vegetable fat extracted from the cocoa bean. It is used to make chocolate, biscuits, and baked goods, as well as some pharmaceuticals, ointments, and toiletries.[Cocoa butter has a mild chocolate flavor and aroma.”
From the section of the article on Milk Chocolate, the kind most people think of, when they think of chocolate, “Milk chocolate” is solid chocolate made with milk in the form of milk powder, liquid milk, or condensed milk added. In the 1870s, Swiss confectioner Daniel Peter had developed solid milk chocolate using condensed milk; hitherto it had only been available as a drink. The U.S. Government requires a 10% concentration of chocolate liquor. EU regulations specify a minimum of 25% cocoa solids,however an agreement was reached in 2003 that allows milk chocolate in the UK and Ireland to contain only 20% cocoa solids. This type of chocolate must be called “family milk chocolate” elsewhere in the European Union.”
Furthermore, the article states that: “”Hershey process” milk chocolate is popular in North America. It was invented by Milton S. Hershey, founder of The Hershey Company, and can be produced more cheaply than other processes since it is less sensitive to the freshness of the milk. The process is a trade secret, but experts speculate that the milk is partially lipolyzed, producing butyric acid, which stabilizes the milk from further fermentation. This compound gives the product a particular sour, “tangy” taste, to which the American public has become accustomed, to the point that other manufacturers now simply add butyric acid to their milk chocolates.”
I am forced to conclude, based on the preceding paragraphs, that there is no butter in chocolate. There’s only cocoa butter, which isn’t the same thing.My decision is set, I’m giving up butter for choco-bliss!
Warm, fresh baked bread would be useless without butter. So would baked potatoes. So giving up butter leaves most of my favorite starches lacking. Substitutes don’t cut it for me. I’d miss chocolate. But most sweets, and especially caramel, could fill the void.
Being a vegan leaning vegetarian made this a really easy question. I’ve given up butter before, and I could do it again – but I do love some dark and bitter chocolate.
Since I have food sensitivities and cannot eat either dairy or chocolate, the question is moot — I gave up both, along with a bunch of other foods, a long time ago. But of the two, I miss chocolate more.
Wow, the results are shockingly close. I wonder what would happen if you added bacon to that mix?
I’d give up chocolate. There are way too many foods that exist solely to convey butter to my waiting mouth!
I voted for giving up butter, because chocolate is FREAKING CHOCOLATE. :D
Definitely chocolate–while I love chocolate (and really don’t care for butter too much in and of itself), no butter would greatly limit both cooking and baking!
I’ll give up butter as there are substitutes (not as good, I’ll admit) but no good substitute for chocolate.
Give up butter. I almost never use it, anyway: you can substitute healther fats (such as olive oil) in most dishes. Besides, chocolate is good for your health.
I don’t eat chocolate often, but I was raised on margarine and have no strong preference in the margarine vs butter debate so giving up butter is a fairly easy choice.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!!1!!ONE!! Haven’t they already made Sophie’s choice once? Do they really need to do this to us again?
Oh, and Butter: Olive oil is a good substitute for most things, the spreads are good for toast. Baking would be tough, but chocolate is for-eva!
I could give up either one, I think. I like to bake, but there are plenty of butter substitutes when you bake (I always use margarine on sandwiches because I always have). Chocolate is great and all, but it’s not good for me and I really should quit eating it. So, you know, whichever.
Coffee or meat would be a much, much harder choice. Beer or cheese, likewise.
One cannot make grilled cheese sans butter. Farewell chocolate!
Cooking requires butter far more often than it does chocolate. And I generally prefer fruit flavors to chocolate in my desserts, so regretfully, goodbye chocolate.
Margarine is a better substitute than carob.
well since my doctor slapped me with the “you got Type 2 diabetes” health hammer about 3 years ago, I’ve pretty much given up chocolate anyway. So it was an easy choice… give up chocolate.
I don’t eat that much butter. It’s loss wouldn’t be noticed. Chocolate, on the other hand, is one of the few things that fills the gaping hole in my soul. The wife, 18 year old scotch and reading good books also work, too.
My friend and I here wonder what kind of people read this blog that they would ever consider giving up CHOCOLATE! CHOCOLATE, PEOPLE!! This poll should not be neck-and-neck.
It’s a terrible blow to those of us who love our chocolate buttered.
Alex, Alex, everyone one KNOWS the proper way to eat the to is to eat chocolate covered butter. sigh….
If I gave up butter, everyone around me would survive. The same cannot be said if I gave up chocolate.
I’m using olive oil more and more in cooking, roasting, and frying. I seldom butter bread/toast anymore. I might miss it in baking, and I really don’t like the idea of using hydrogenated veggie shortening as a substitute. But my favorite dessert is a plain cookie with a couple of pieces of chocolate–I guess I could substitute a butter-free biscotti for the cookie. Then there’s the fact that chocolate is the nitro for my writerly heart attacks–there’s no substitute.
There are substitures for butter, but nothing can take the place of chocolate.
I could make do with olive oil and heavy cream, I’m sure of it.
Interestingly, when I spent a while on a nofat diet I missed cheese and peanut butter more than butter OR chocolate!
Bye chocolate. A life without buttered popcorn is not a life worth living. Just don’t make me choose between caramel and mayonnaise.
The only time I ever think, “I would like some chocolate” is when someone offers it to me. Otherwise, the thought never crosses my mind. But when I cook, butter is one of the first things I pull out of the fridge.
@Kendra I use butter every single day. Real butter, usually hand churned from the previous day’s sweet cream (we have a small creamery in my current town of residence), not hydrogenated cottonseed oil (which will kill you fairly quickly) nor the seemingly preferred alternative – bitter bitter olive oil. And I use regular Land o Lakes butter at about a pound a month for various baking uses (commercial butters have a more consistent moisture content so I know how my baked goods will react with it). I eat chocolate maybe once a month.
Butter substitutes aren’t – I can, in fact, blind-taste-test tell the difference between fats (and have frustrated a number of people by proving this). Including pie-crust made with lard vs pie-crust made with butter, the latter of which I prefer. Granted, chocolate substitutes aren’t either, but I can find alternatives to chocolate that I find delicious quite easily.
Easy choice for me: chocolate is sometimes a migraine trigger.
@digitalathest, I think the safest thing I can do is Godwin this potential argument before the knives come out. Chocolated butter indeed!
I voted butter now I want chocolate ice cream ahhhhhhhh
@stencil: Contrary to popular belief, you *CAN* fry oysters in chocolate. Just … not very well …
@Everyone who thinks that chocolate doesn’t contain real butter : Giving up butter would be giving up all subsets of butter. Lacking any definition, it’s probably best to assume the widest interpretation of “butter”, especially since John didn’t define chocolate. In other words, he didn’t say “Cadbury Chocolate”, he simply said “Chocolate”.
Butter’s more ubiquitous than chocolate.
Must have chocolate!
I’d flip a coin and then kill myself.
chocolate : I have dairy farmers in the ffamily. there is no substitute for butter.
While I might grant that milk chocolate might not “normally” contain butter, I’m fully well-aware that I can substitute cocoa+butter for baking chocolate, and have done so repeatedly, with no seeming detriment to the resulting brownies. Thus, I still vote to keep butter.
NEVER!!!! NEITHER!!!! You’ll have to pry them from my COLD DEAD HANDS!!!!
Because I can’t make cookies or brownies, c’mon!
The results are astonishingly closely balanced. This really should be a Wii Everybody Votes Channel question.
Although life would be sad without butter, I made a promise to myself that I would never turn down chocolate just in case it was the last meal I ever ate. I never made this promise about butter.
I want to know on whose authority is it that I MUST give up one or the other? This is AMERICA, dammit!! I’m keeping both!
When the fall of civilization happens, I suspect I’ll still be able to milk a cow and churn butter. Chocolate is much more complex.
Lacking a complete breakdown of society, Hershey has already floated trial balloons to substitute something other than cacao in their products. As competitors follow
suit, I’d rather have memories of the real thing than slowly acclimating to adulterated yuck
As long as one of the choices is not bacon…
Having just finished with my Lenten fast of “no refine cane sugar and no corn syrup”…I’d give up chocolate over butter. No mistake, I’d definitely miss chocolate and there are definitely things that I can use in place of butter in cooking. However, unless everyone else also gave up butter in cooking, there would be a *lot* more things I would miss out on because of butter than I would with chocolate. For example, croissants.
Also, I live in Wisconsin. Born and raised. Dairy is what we do really well. I can get butter from happy, grassfed local cows. Chocolate, on the other hand, is tropical. It is a finicky plant that only likes to grow in a very specific environment. So, if I gave up chocolate instead of butter I can focus on the eat local thing.
That being said…I really hope I never actually have to make this Sophie’s choice.
I would never be able to give up cooking with butter. It lends its character to the definition of soul food. Chocolate, on the other hand, is one of those foods that I get tired of eating after the first few bites (although 1. I have a bad filling so eating things that are too sweet makes my teeth hurt, and 2. My boyfried ruined me by feeding me chocolate from Germany. It’s harder to come by in the States and so I’ve already effectively been doing without).
Chocolate! No, wait! Butter! No, wait (is flung off Bridge of Death)
I’m vegan… so I already have given up butter.
Dark chocolate, however, is awesome.
Chocolate is nice but vanilla is the finest of the flavors…I choose butter.
(Would bread always fall chocolate side down?)
I chose to dump chocolate. Though to be honest, I am a chocoholic. Sort of. I think butter is more versatile in recipes, though I did forget that there are far more, and far better butter substitutes than chocolate substitutes. All good things in moderation, I guess.
I need butter for all sorts of cooking. I can find ways to get by without chocolate, ESPECIALLY since I’m being a pedantic butt who is only using the strict definition of chocolate for your poll and am hypothetically allowing myself cocoa.
I used to be a chocoholic, but now? Not so much. Not sure why. As a result, I could give up chocolate pretty easily right now.
Course, I already limit butter anyway. I use those spreads. Problem is, you need unsalted or salted butter for most baked goods, so butter is pretty much in the diet to stay. lol
Too easy. I don’t like sweets of any kind and I am a fanatic hobby cook (who doesn’t do desserts.)
I never eat chocolate as it is, so ‘giving it up’ would not exactly hurt me.
Next time, to make it more interesting, make us choose between books or music – or sex & cheese…
As much as I love chocolate, I’m pretty sure I could live without it. Butter on the other hand… nope. Not happening. You can’t make cookies without butter. BUTTER SUBSTITUTES DO NOT COUNT! It’s so gross, I can’t believe they call it butter.
I’d have to give up chocolate because butter can go sweet or savoury, but chocolate is almost all sweet.
I would NEVER give up chocolate. I mostly use butter substitutes anyway, so giving up butter? Not a big deal.
Chocolate. This was actually an easy choice: I can’t eat chocolate anymore. I actually did give it up in 1989.
While I love chocolate I also bake a lot and practically every recipe calls for butter. I’m not stopping making cakes and biscuits and cookies and all that, even for chocolate. Margarine is not an acceptable substitute.
I can replace chocolate with other sweets… but I use butter to cook with and margarine is a poor second best.
I’d give up chocolate . I will now go and console myself for both choices with a delicious pain au chocolat:).
Alas, I’d ditch chocolate. But only if it would save the planet to do so. Frankly, Sooz has the right idea. And I have a couple of leftover Lindt Easter Eggs and some strawberries. Consolation it is!
I try to avoid butter whenever possible – I don’t like it, so I’d rather give that one up. I think chocolate would be easier to avoid, but please, THINK OF THE HOLIDAYS! What would Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas be without chocolate candies?
(Chalky, marshmallowy, fruity, and minty, probably.)
Margerine is an acceptable substitute for butter on toast. There is no substitute for chocolate
I’ve given up chocolate already .. way too allergic to caffeine to enjoy it.
However I am not sure it counts as quitting, since I have never used it intentionally. To me it is a margarine substitute with too much saturated fat.
I get my saturated fat from chocolate. And Easter is over, arrhgh the best CHOCOLATE candy season of the year and it is gone.
No more wonderful Cadbury Mini Eggs. No more chocolate covered marshmallow eggs. No cross of gold, er that last was me getting carried away.
If I was to sacrifice my last Cadbury Mini Eggs to Quetzalcoatl, mixed with chile of course, maybe I could get the Cadbury company to make them available year round or at least give me a lifetime supply as a bribe to keep me from sacrificing the Hershey management to Quetzalcoatl instead of chili and chocolate.
High Norse Priest to Quetzalcoatl and
Keeper of the Cadbury Mini Eggs
I voted to give up chocolate. I don’t eat that much candy and butter is too useful for cooking other foods.
If you want a one-word justification, here you go: popcorn. The defense rests.
Chocolate is a popular theoretical ingredient but butter is more applied. I chose chocolate.
Butter. But wow, this pole has totally renewed my belief that every vote counts. There’s only one vote difference at the moment after 3843 votes.
I’ll give up the chocolate.
Chocolate on its own tastes great….but butter makes (almost) EVERYTHING it goes into taste better!
“Chocolate. You can’t make good biscuits without butter.”
This isn’t one of those questions that can be answered in a vacuum (metaphorically speaking, although there are obvious problems with a literal vacuum, too).
What’s the context? If I have to give one up because of a life-threatening allergy, I’d say chocolate, since it’s much easier to avoid than butter (although I’d question a butter-specific allergy that didn’t also affect some other dairy), and while chocolate is nice, it’s no bacon.
If this is some monkey’s paw scenario in which one is banished from the earth (everyone loses the ability to churn?), I’d say butter, since we can find reasonable (if not ideal) workarounds.
If this is merely the head of a major nonprofit organization representing writers abusing his power to deprive me of something I love, I’d say it was time to ask the veep what her thoughts are, and cut a deal.
I can’t get over how close this poll is!
And I think a lot of folks here should try some oils other than butter! Butter is yummy! Totally. But there are a bunch of other yummy oils out there that can make everything from fried foods to cakes to pies to biscuits taste really good too. Coconut oil and olive oil and I’ll leave it at that.
Please don’t take my chocolate! (Have you ever eaten carob?)
If I were a real chocolate fan this would be a harder choice. I wouldn’t like to give it up forever but I have to have butter and don’t want a substitute. Now if you asked me to give up Cheerios forever instead of something else, even butter, Cheerios would win every time. The idea of never having a bowl of Cheerios again sends a chill down my spine.
Chocolate makes me itchy.
Chocolate is good;
Bread without butter is death.
I choose life. Amen.
Butter. Now, if you’d said chocolate or cheese, that’s be a much harder choice.
Wow, almost 300 comments on this. You’ve opened up a can of worms here!
Gef Fox (@WagTheFox) says:
April 11, 2012 at 1:45 pm
… because I don’t put chocolate on my toast in the morning.
Ever hear of Nutella?
Butter, no question. There are other tasty fats — olive oil, bacon grease, hell, even lard for things like biscuits and pie crust; making cookies might be difficult but I bet I could do something interesting with coconut oil. There’s nothing even remotely close to chocolate, though.
Easy question, since I use margarine exclusively, anyway. Chocolate is the food of the gods; there can be no substitute.
Since butter is essential to many of the traditional cuisines prepared in my home, it would be very difficult to give up. Other natural fats and oils are good for their respective traditional uses, but they are not butter. Manufactured butter substitutes are continually being found to be dangerous. Therefore, butter is in, and, sadly, chocolate is out.
I don’t crave butter the way I crave chocolate. I don’t really use it in cooking, and olive oil is a decent enough substitute when I need it.
There are no good substitutes for Chocolate. Butter on the other had can be substituted with margarine or a good quality vegetable oil. I actually prefer extra light olive oil on bread to butter.
Not a big cakes and cookies eater, and almost never cook savory with butter, so I can live without it. I practically do so now. Chocolate, however? Tread carefully. You’ll have to pry it from my cold, dead fingers.
Butter or Chocolate?
Water or Air?
You people giving up Chocolate have lost your damn minds!
Really no contest – I rarely use butter for anything, and I could substitute some form of vegetable oil for all of those. Chocolate, however, is unique in the universe. If Earth ever gets invaded by aliens, I’d lay odds they’ll be after the chocolate.
Allergic to chocolate, the strong reactions coming from the really good (>90%) stuff.
John – This might have already been brought up (I didn’t review all comments with a fine-tooth comb, mea culpa), but the “comments” link you see immediately after voting leads to comments saved over at Polldaddy, not here. So anyone interested should check out the comments both places.
Anyway, back to the question … I had to cheat a little in my choice, since I grew up in a lower-middle-class family back when margarine was MUCH cheaper than real butter (remember having to manually knead in the yellow coloring?), so even today the only real butter (other than what’s already in pre-packaged or canned stuff) I ever see is on the rare occasion I eat out. And even then, these days (with public awareness of cholesterol problems) it’s more likely margarine than butter anyway.
With the understanding that in my case I’m substituting “tastes like butter” for the obvious near-equivalent choice, I voted to give up chocolate. There seems to be widespread agreement, and I’m with them, that while chocolate is a treat, butter (or “tastes like”) is necessary in such a wide variety of things that it would be much harder to give up. Chunky soups are one of my favorite quick-and-easy meals when my wife’s not feeling well enough to cook, and I’ve found that nearly all the cream-based ones benefit from some butter-or added while heating.
Did I miss your vote and justification?
I give up chocolate. It can sometimes give me migraines, and I just don’t much like it in any event. Give me salty buttery goodness over sweets anytime.
There are reasonably decent substitutes for butter. This is not true for chocolate.
I rarely ever consume either, and I don’t care much for them. Thus I cannot vote because without a more technical definition of “chocolate” and “butter” I couln’t vote, lacking as I am in emotional attatchment, but that would be impossible and/or defeat the purpose of the poll?
Butter is required in waaaay more foods I enjoy than chocolate. I’m not much of a sweets person anyways.
And anyone who mentioned toast previously? Yeah, that.
Easy: chocolate. Because I can’t stand the taste of it, that’s why.
Easy. There is no good chili without chocolate.
I can give up broccoli and asparagus.
Chocolate in your chili? A Cincinnati Heretic! STONE HIM!
Roy “texas red” McM
I’m allergic to dairy products. Hives, coughing, itchy rash, plus all the nice GI symptoms because apparently my ancestors didn’t do the lactase persistence thing either. I think the last time I ate butter was about 25 years ago. But don’t you DARE touch my dairy-free chocolate.
Chocolate with dairy products in it is ADULTERATED and should be considered unfit for human consumption. “Milk chocolate” is *not chocolate*, and tastes like sour milk besides.
Anybody who thinks that butter and/or dairy products are absolutely essential to producing tasty baked goods needs to go spend some time in Israel. I had to go for work in November, and Israeli pareve desserts (including things like frosted chocolate fudge brownies, lemon tarts, and coffee-lemon cake) were an absolute revelation.
Because there is a nutritional need for fat in your diet, (especially if you’re pregnant,) and chocolate provides this, as well as caffeine and delicious cocoa flavor!
Chocolate. As much as I dearly love it, I butter is much more essential to cooking a bunch more stuff. I would still be really, really sad though.
Sorry, chocolate – we had some good times together, eh?
Now I’m trying to imagine how the revised story “What Can You Say About Butter-Covered Manhole Covers?” would read…
What a polar poll this has turned out to be. And on both sides the arguments are essentially identical, and fall into two classes: 1) I’m allergic to X and have already quit it anyway; 2) There are acceptable substitutes for X but not for Y, so I’d quit X.
In the thick of this controversy, I’d just like to remind everyone that we are all so much more alike than we imagine! It doesn’t have to come to legislation, activist judges effectively dictating our dietary choices from the bench, and eventual civil war!
It’s pretty remarkable that at 4500 votes, there’s less than a 50-vote difference between the two. Currently chocolate by a margin of 0.06%.
It’s a trick question, folks. A main ingredient in chocolate is …. cocoa butter. So if you get rid of butter, and all it’s butter relatives, you lose chocolate too. Thhhhppppbbbtttt to the question then, as Opus would say.
Cocoa butter is butter-like, but it is not butter:
IMO, butter is an irreplaceable ingredient on par with salt, eggs and flour. Chocolate, lovely as it is, is simply not in that pantheon.
I think I’ll make a pan of brownies (with a half pound of unsalted butter and 4 oz of chocolate) while I try to decide. If I can’t decide even after the brownies are finished, I may have to think longer. While eating chocolate chip cookies – which, of course, have unsalted butter and chocolate chips… The horror! The horror! I may never decide.
Guns make you powerful, chocolate intoxicates women. Butter? Butter will only make you fat!
Therefore, Guns & Chocolate. (I imagine some gun-toting K-selector already has a blog with that title…
@Spencer, amen. Butter is essential for cooking in so many cuisines. Imagine Frech food without butter or Indian without ghee — the best curry I ever had was aloo ghobi with about a quarter inch of ghee floating on top from a street vendor in the Indian quarter of Bangkok. I would happily give chocolate forever if that street vendor would set up his stall in my driveway.
I can find a way to cook delicious food without butter, but whatc an substitute for chocolate. jhowever, I prefer togive up neither, but to use each in moderation.
Made a couple of typos there. Let me clarify, so to speak, my comment:
I can find a way to cook delicious food without butter, but what can substitute for chocolate? However, I prefer to give up neither, but to use each in moderation.
Butter is a food; chocolate is a mystical experience.
Butter. I’d miss butter if I had to give it up but chocolate is the stuff of life itself. Theobromine is called that for a reason you know.
I was eating Chocolate when I voted, and just bought 2 boxes of 83%. There is no way I can give that up.
What a cruel man you are, John Scalzi!
This is quite easy for me, since I don’t care for butter.
On second thought, it’s probably used in a lot of things I DO care for. I just don’t like to spread it on stuff.
Um, hello? Chocolate. There was a question?
Butter is a very taste spread, but so is seasoned olive oil, or guacamole, or sour cream, or whipped ricotta, or salted coconut oil. No, there is nothing like a fresh biscuit swimming in butter, but there’s nothing like a fresh biscuit with gravy or a good homemade jam, either. Pancakes? I haven’t buttered a pancake since I discovered the cottage-cheese pancake recipe; buttery-tasting butter-free goodness. Mashed potatoes? Garlic and herbs and olive oil can be great; or, for that creamy dairy flavor, whip in a big dollop of ricotta.
Butter is called for in many recipes, but it is rarely the best fat for the job. Olive oil or walnut oil or almond oil or (especially in croissants or piecrusts or biscuits) coconut oil or lard make stellar replacements. Cream cheese is a great substitute in many cookie recipes.
Carob is nice stuff, so long as it isn’t pretending to be chocolate.
But chocolate … good chocolate … *swoons* … And it’s even good for you.
To clarify: Keep the food of the gods.
Lose the butter; it is a tasty spread, and I would miss the heck out of it, but for cooking, there are lots of better options. (No, I do not mean margarine.)
“Chocolate in your chili? A Cincinnati Heretic! STONE HIM!”
As the High Norse Priest of Quetzalcoatl I must point out that before there was a Texas there was Chile. And Quetzalcoatl saw the it was good, but could better and Chocolate was the right thing to make it Perfect.
If you insist in this upstart Texas heresy I must remind you that we do NOT stone people when we sacrifice to Quetzalcoatl. It is Chocolate and Chile or your still beating heart.
Think it over Texan, the Feathered Serpent must have sacrifices. Choose wisely.
High Norse Priest to Quetzalcoatl and
Keeper of the Cadbury Mini Eggs
I can replace butter with a Vegetable spread (e.g. Flora if you get that in the US) or Olive Oil. In fact I was just visiting Rome and the apartment we stayed in had some Olive Oil and even my 8 year old said at the end of the trip that we should stop buying butter.
It was a hard choice, but giving up chocolate means giving up Nutella, and I just can’t do that John.
wife is allergic to chocolate (yes, it’s true) so we’ve had to do without…butter on the other hand…oy, there’s no way to get rid of that forever. Plus, good pastry = butter. lots and lots of it.
Thank the maker this pole in non-binding!
I depend on chocolate for self-medication. My family depends on chocolate for my self-medication. I can and have lived with out butter. We have a fantastic vegan bakery nearby.
btw, I am in agreement with Ethelred: Adding chocolate to chili is fantastic! -but not milk chocolate –very dark or semi-sweet.
I would gave up chocolate very sadly. While things that are chocolate are quite tasty most of them require butter to bake up right leaving a smallish quantity of things that are tasty with chocolate and without butter. Meanwhile butter is used in a wide range of recipes that are quite tasty and happen to lack chocolate. Therefore I would give up chocolate.
I’m vegan. I’ve already given up butter. And macadamia nut oil and garlic-infused olive oil are very nice, thank you very much. But I refuse to give up chocolate. Although my plant biologist friend says we’ll have to soon anyway, due to diseases.
I can definitely give up butter. There’s no substitute for chocolate. I am a bona-fide chocoholic!
I don’t really like chocolate all that much, so I don’t mind giving it up. I’ll eat it, but if I have a choice, I’ll pick something else. I do really like butter though.
Definitely giving up chocolate. As much as I love it, it’s pretty much only used in desserts. Butter, on the other hand, is used in anything and everything. Any decent baked good not purchased from a be-dreadlocked man at a farmer’s market has butter in it, everything at every restaurant has butter in it, four of the five mother sauces have butter in them, and you should probably sweat the vegetables for tomato sauce in butter as well. It’s too versatile and delicious.
I give up chocolate. Either way I have to give up eating raw chocolate chip cookie dough, but I can have other cookie doughs without chocolate. Also, buttered toast and buttered noodles are important staples of my diet.
I have already given up both for my health.