It’s been said that Boris Yeltsin realized that the USSR had failed as an economic system after visiting a supermarket in Houston and seeing how much more good, cheap food was available to the average American than their counterpart in Russia. The Americans didn’t even have to wait in lines! Yeltsin apparently just roamed around the aisles, looking at all the food and considering his life choices. Just as Yeltsin sunk into a deep despair after his shopping experience, so too have I began to reevaluate my life after being introduced to Amish Butter. All I know about Amish Butter is that it is butter that is, presumably, made by Amish people and that I can buy it at the Harris Teeter by my house. Beyond that, I don’t feel like I know much about it or food in general anymore because Amish Butter has challenged my relationship with what I eat.
I was hanging out with a foodie friend in his kitchen (natch). He pulled what looked like a wad of c4 and/or lard out of his refrigerator. He grabbed a fancy knife looking thing, one of those planar knives that’s mostly just a blade and was probably originally meant to parcel out designer drugs. After sizing up a piece of bread, he cut a quarter inch thick slice of butter that covered the entire bread slice and told me to eat it. He knew better than to say try this, because you can’t just try Amish Butter, you are compelled to finish whatever the butter is on lest you let the Amish Butter go to waste and karma sees fit to prevent you from having the fortune to eat it again. Within 24 hours, I had gone out and purchased my own hunk of Amish Butter and made most of my roommates and my dad sit down and eat toast and Amish Butter with me.
Amish Butter is perhaps the only food I’ve eaten that has immediately changed my diet. It comes in two pound hunks that are surprisingly cheap. It’s got a heft to it that demands respect. I’ve refused to use a regular butter knife when slicing it out, alternating between reaching to the back of the drawer for a small sharp knife for precision slicing and a fork when I don’t feel like wasting the time to try and find the proper utensil. It doesn’t seem right to use a regular butter knife, because Amish Butter isn’t regular butter. Amish Butter is what regular butter aspires to be, the same way little kids aspire to be the president before they understand how utterly impossible it is for them to ever achieve that dream and resign themselves to living their somewhat satisfying but ultimately average and likely mediocre lives.
After Amish Butter, I now have an urgent need to deeply understand my toaster. I have more opinions about toast now than I previously thought were possible and they are all entirely predicated on finding the right level of toastedness for my bread so it can live up to Amish Butter’s exacting standards. The trick to eating Amish Butter is to eat as much as possible without getting sick. The toast acts as a transport while also reminding me of the physical limits of how much Amish Butter I can eat in one sitting. The toast can’t be so hot as to cause severe melting but it can’t be so cold as to distract from the experience. There is a certain crunch that is needed. Lukewarm cripsy toast is best for me, though I’m sure each person will find their own path towards best experiencing Amish Butter. For some reason, I can’t simply slice as I go, it has to all be cut and prepared at the beginning of the toast session. Part of the experience is seeing exactly how much Amish Butter I am about to one sitting and soaking it all in.
This all is a long winded way of saying that I’ve become that person who sits outside on his deck with two pounds of Amish Butter, a reliable knife, four pieces of toast and a massive shit eating grin and, if you ever chance a visit to my home, you will become just such a person as well.