Tuesday, September 22, 2009

To everything: churn, churn, churn

Exhibit A: Butter Cow 2009, by Holly

This might come as a surprise to many readers both inside and outside the Land of Zion, but I'm here to break the news that there is nowhere in the state where you can professionally churn butter. Or even amateurly churn butter. There will be no butter churning in Utah.

My Pioneer Spirit was a bit scarred to learn this news.

For the past couple of years I have attempted coercing my co-workers into joining me in churning butter because I have had a strange craving for freshly-churned cream. I'm not kidding. Maybe it was the fond fourth grade memory I had of the entire class, during a Utah Mountain Man Rendezvous learning unit, shaking up a butter jug and spreading the final result on a piece of homemade bread. This craving was further impacted by viewing the butter cow at the Utah State Fair last week.  (Incidentally, this year's butter cow featured not one, but three culturally-inclined bovine, one of which was wearing a tutu skirt. See Exhibit A above.) On a side note, I learned that the butter was re-used each year which grossed me out a little, but then a bit happy that the butter cow lives on each year in a sort of dairy resurrection.

After returning from the fair I leaned out of my cubicle to a co-worker and whispered with a very drug dealer-like tone, "Hey... wanna go churn butter today?" Thinking that there must certainly be somewhere nearby that could provide me with my fix. "What?" she said quizzically. "Butter churning, finally, today," I repeated, because what's sadder than a burning desire for churning butter? (I mean, besides falling asleep on somebody's porch in a pathetic attempt to get them to talk to you.) Churning butter alone. So I set out to make a few phone calls to find exactly where we could churn.

But churning wasn't meant to be. Much to my chagrin the usual Utah places one might think to churn butter didn't offer the activity. Not the FARM, not any historical PLACEs, not even anywhere around Temple Square. Along the Wasatch Front, there was nary a churn in sight. In fact, the only similar activity I could locate was a taffy pull at the Lion House, and even then I would have to register for a birthday party. Which would be creepy and sad, as there would be no wine at that birthday party.

It was interesting that each place offered a suggestion as to who might just churn, and were surprised to hear that I'd already called around and learned there would be no afternoon churning. I'd created a churndemic of udder disbelief (yep, I did just throw down a bad cow pun) throughout Salt Lake County.

But it's not Pioneer Spirit to give up that easily! I figured that certainly there must be some other way to churn butter! When I learned that it likely wouldn't work for me to shake up a Ziploc baggie of heavy cream, I had to take matters into my own hand(cart). I would churn! If the Donner Party could create food in this valley, I certainly could too! I went to the store and got a little half-pint of heavy cream and set out on a journey to my kitchen to fulfill my now-frenzied obsession.

Into the food processor with the heavy cream and a bit of salt, and after about 10 minutes and blowing out the motor on the circa 1980s Oskar inherited from my mom, I had brought my creation to life! It was a little runny, but I had done it! And after I strained the spooge through a coffee filter, I was finally ready to taste the fruits of my long-awaited labor! I lovingly swirled the tip of my finger around the rim of Oskar's bowl and readied myself to savor the creamy goodness. It tasted exactly like...

...butter. After throwing away the rest of the butter-filled coffee filter, I thought, "um, okay."

So that's that. I guess to redeem this whole experience, I did take some other photos at the State Fair. Here, enjoy something more satisfying than food processor butter:

Swish! by Holly

Gene Simmons, by Holly

Objects in mirror are smaller than they appear, by Holly


JM Bell said...

I use my food processor to make butter ... is that Pioneer-ie or not?

Holly said...

Guess it depends on if you blow out your motor or not.

Jon said...

Since I know your eating habits I am a little upset you didn't attempt to make margarine. Or spray butter.

VilaD said...

You threw your butter away? After all that hassle? I would've made some fresh buttermilk baking powder biscuits to put the fresh butter on. hmmm, that would be tasty.
I grew up on a farm. My mom made butter all the time with a mix master. Then I was the one that had to spend an hour or two squeezing the greasy mess under cold running water to rinse the whey out of it. BTW: if you don't salt the cream, it churns into butter faster.

VilaD said...

Correction, I just realize that it was the whey that you tossed out, and not the butter.

Holly said...

No, I tossed out the whey and then the butter. It wasn't that much, and it was mostly out of disappointment.

And Jon? NOW I have a burning desire to make spray butter. Thanks A LOT!

Anonymous said...

I love the self portrait-- fantastic! The silver car isn't Jeep fantastic, but damn close!

Chelsea said...

i churned butter in 4th grade too...and then again once in young womens. i remember it tasting amazing. so, i am disappointed at the whole...it is "just butter" scenario.

however, this post in its entirety was superb.