The faithful ally of the culinary arts and a delight to the taste buds of humankind, butter symbolizes good living. Historically, ancient butter-making was largely associated with religious practice. From the ancient Fertile Crescent, there are records of Sumerians, one of the first civilizations, making butter in their temples around 3, 000 BC.
Butter was such an integral part of daily life in the 1600’s that, in Europe, butter consumption was banned during Lent. Lent is the solemn religious season that begins on Ash Wednesday, and ends around six weeks later, before Easter Sunday. Without access to cooking oils, some northern Europeans found that meal-preparation was a struggle. The wealthy parishioners who could not manage without their daily butter fix, would pay the church a large fee for permission to consume the fat during the period of fasting and self-denial. The appetite for this fringe benefit was so great that the Cathedral in Rouen, France was able to build an imposing tower addition from the proceeds of those fees. The tower is known as the “Tour de Buerre, ” or “Butter Tower.”
Being forbidden to eat butter particularly angered the famous German monk, Martin Luther:
‘For at Rome they themselves laugh at the fasts, ‘ he wrote in 1520, ‘making us foreigners eat the oil with which they would not grease their shoes, and afterwards selling us liberty to eat butter ….’
Try It: Butter Poetry
Let the poem, Butter by Elizabeth Alexander inspire your own butter-themed poem:
out, one hundred megawatts of butter.
—by Elizabeth Alexander
What comes to mind when you think of butter? Anything from childhood? Can you draw from memory the rich texture, flavor, and scent of butter slathered on bread? Write a poem about butter and all its buttery goodness.
Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s poetry prompt. Here is a Monster poem from Rick we enjoyed: