Grocery Hacks

Salted Vs. Unsalted Butter: What To Know Before You Buy

 Photo: Shutterstock // Africa Studio

When it comes to butter, we all have our preferences. But does the kind of butter you choose matter when it comes to cooking and baking? We settle the debate between salted and unsalted.

When it comes to baking, we all have our favorites. I always stock the same brand of chocolate chips in my pantry, always shop for pure vanilla extract and normally I always reach for salted butter. But our recent butter taste testgot me thinking—is salted butter always best?

Salted vs. Unsalted Butter

The difference between the two kinds of butter is obviously salt. Unsalted butter is all cream, while the salted variety has some salt added, though the amount varies from brand to brand. Because salt is a preservative, salted butter has a longer shelf life—typically around five months while unsalted usually is good for about three. This also means that when you visit your supermarket, chances are that the unsalted variety is a bit fresher.

When Unsalted Butter Matters

To find out when the difference between these two matters, I turned to our culinary director Sara Farmer. According to Sarah, this varying level of salt makes a huge difference in your baking. “You don’t know how much salt is in salted butter—you just don’t have the control.” Since we all know that baking is a science, that extra bit of salt can affect your recipe the same way an improperly measured cup of flour can (pssst… learn how to measure the right way here!). So for baking, unsalted butter should be your go-to (unless otherwise specified). For cooking, there’s a bit more leeway, but if you really want to control the exact amount of butter going into your dishes, it’s best to use unsalted.

In general, Sarah explains that “if you care a good deal about the freshness of the ingredients you’re using, used unsalted.” So that’s good advice to keep in mind!

Learn why butter may be the best for your pie crust.

When Salted Works

However, just because unsalted butter is preferable in most instances, doesn’t mean that you need to stop buying the salted variety altogether. Salt helps bring out flavor in foods after all, so in some instances, it’s a welcome addition. If you plan on spreading your butter on a fresh baguette or a muffin fresh out of the oven, you’ll want that little hint of saltiness to accentuate all those flavors.

If you’re not interested in keeping both types on hand, food stylist Lauren Knoelke has a great tip: “If I want salted butter on toast or bread, I can easily use one of my fancier flavored salts sprinkled on top.”

So I officially learned something that will change my baking routine! No more salted butter for me (well, at least not in my favorite bundt cake recipes).

Related Links:

Article by Lisa Kaminski for Taste of Home. View the original article here.


Why You Should Add Butter To Your Pasta Sauce

Photo: Shutterstock / Kiian Oksana

A great pasta sauce is all about balance. To achieve this elusive quality, chefs and home cooks toil for hours over the stove sweating the sharpness out of onions, slowly reducing stocks and softening fresh vegetables. But this three-ingredient red sauce recipe from a world renowned cookbook writer turns all of these sauce-making techniques upside down thanks to one secret: butterHere’s our favorite brand.

How to Make Marcella Hazan’s Super-Easy Pasta Sauce

Marcella Hazan is best known for bringing Italian home cooking to the United States. (These are some of our favorite Italian dishes to make at home.) Her best known recipe is also one of her most unconventional. It’s not often that you can develop the flavors of a classic Italian dish in less than an hour with just three ingredients and some salt, but this one really is that easy.

Step 1

Cut a whole, peeled onion in half and throw it in a sauce pot. Add five tablespoons of butter and a 28 ounce can of peeled, whole tomatoes.

Step 2

Bring ingredients to a simmer for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon and gently break tomatoes as they become soft.

Step 3

Remove and discard onion and salt to taste before tossing with pasta.

In under an hour, you have a velvety delicious sauce good enough to impress at a dinner party, made from ingredients that are often already on hand.

My Taste Test

I went to the store with the shortest grocery list I’ve ever used the night I was making Hazan’s sauce. (For more recipes with just a handful of ingredients, check out these dinners with five ingredients or less.) Heading home with my extra-light shopping bag, I was skeptical about how four ingredients could make a world-famous meal.

The recipe required almost nothing in the way of work, I just tossed the ingredients in and stirred on commercial breaks while I caught up on The Bachelorette. Just over an hour later, my first taste completely erased all the doubts I had—this woman is clearly a genius.

Deep tomato flavor with none of the acidic bite was accompanied by a smooth, full mouthfeel from the butter. Stirring the pasta into the sauce I was stunned by how bright and vibrant red the sauce appeared compared to its more mellow flavor. The sauce is also very light in weight so it perfectly coated each piece of pasta (I was using linguini but you can make your own pasta). I didn’t miss the herbs or garlic from my typical sauce recipes at all.

My favorite part of making this sauce was actually eating the onion I removed from the pot. I just went at it with a fork, but I could see it being spread on some crostini for a perfect appetizer!

Why Butter Makes It Better

This recipe seems so convenient that it must be magical. But the real magic at work is the butter. The fat imparted by five whole tablespoons of butter mellows the acid from the fresh onion and the tomatoes. Because there is so much fat in the sauce, you don’t need to cook the onions to rid them of acidic bite.

Butter also acts as an emulsifier giving you a thick, velvety sauce without adding texture that is associated with olive oil. Olive oil is a classic Italian flavor, but it’s not one that you always want in a sauce, especially when showcasing bright tomato flavors. Butter helps all kinds of flavors shine, even sweets like these buttery dessert recipes.

Next time your homemade sauce is a touch too sharp after a taste test, stir in half tablespoons of butter until the bright flavors mellow a little. Then serve and send Marcella Hazan a thank you for saving dinner!

Related Links:

50 Secret Recipes for Classic Diner Foods

33 Things Your Fast Food Worker Isn’t Telling You

10 Common Mistakes Everyone Makes When Brewing Coffee 

Article by Mandy Naglich from Taste of Home. View the original article here.


Here’s the Actual Difference Between Butter and Margarine

Shutterstock / Sea Wave

Butter and margarine are certainly very similar products—they often look alike and have comparable consistencies and functions—but the differences that exist between them are critical.

What is butter?

Butter is a dairy product made from milk or cream. It’s created when cream is vigorously churned, which causes its solids (butterfat) and liquids (buttermilk) to separate, and ultimately results in the firm product we all know and love. The flavor of good butter is second to none, and because of its basic ingredients and straightforward processing, it can easily be made at home. Butter must be at least 80% fat to be sold commercially, and the remaining percentage consists of water and milk proteins.

What is margarine?

Margarine, on the other hand, is made from oil, water, salt, and a few additional ingredients such as emulsifiers. It’s flavored to taste like butter (and it must be said that there was a time when coloring margarine to resemble butter was outlawed in some states!), but usually contains no dairy products at all. Margarine is formed through a complicated chemical process and is therefore not something you can make at home. By law, it must also be at least 80% fat, though manufacturers can get away with less by calling their product a “spread.”

The key difference

It all comes down to the kind of fat involved. As an animal product, butter has high levels of cholesterol and saturated fats that aren’t present in margarine. Margarine, on the other hand, has more polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (the good kinds!) but also often contains trans fats (the very bad kind!). Their respective compositions explain why butter is so much firmer than margarine at room temperature—the saturated fats make tightly packed bonds that stay rigid until heat is applied.

Though most bakers and cooks prefer butter for its unparalleled taste, margarine does have its place. Because of its high water content, baked goods made with margarine will often have a softer texture. Be wary when trying to make substitutions—many recipes from old cookbooks call for margarine, and since those have likely been developed to account for that additional water, it’s probably best to follow them to the letter if you can. Butter is ideal for treats like cookies and frosting, however, since those are recipes where its flavor is important and extra water could be detrimental.

Butter and margarine may have their similarities, but they’re fundamentally different. Knowing how each is best applied will result in more kitchen successes and lots of good eats!

Related Links:

 Article by Grace Mannon from Taste of Home. View the original article here.
Features Restaurants

Buffet Workers And Patrons Recall The Biggest Displays Of Gluttony They’ve Ever Seen


People are known to go ham when it comes to all-you-can-eat buffets and restaurants. I mean, that’s the point right? You roll in with your family and friends and go to town on as much grub as you can before your body tells you to shut it down and go home.

But have you ever wondered how far some people go when the option of endless food is placed before them?

A question was extended to buffet employees and patrons regarding what was the most gluttonous thing they’ve seen. As with everything you read on the Internet, especially Reddit, make sure to take these tales with a grain of salt.

In the meantime, we’re gonna cruise through Yelp and see what buffets we can hit up for lunch. Wonder if Hometown Buffet is still around?

A night at Sizzler’s

Once I went with my mom’s then-boyfriend to Sizzler’s. He got the steak and all-you-can-eat shrimp. He was crazy high, and had the munchies. After the seventh refill of shrimp, the manager came to our table, and said if we left now he would refund his dinner.

I was so embarrased.

He did this every day


Old Country Buffet. I saw a guy eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. He just rested, read the newspaper, and wouldn’t leave the fucking booth. He was there for 7 hours. He did this every day. He was probably 400 lbs.

The Innovator

Not an employee but I had the honor of sitting across the table from a friend who pulled this one. First he went up and got a huge plate of crab legs and a bowl of clarified butter. Then made a second trip for prime rib. 2 huge slices. He sat there and cracked all the crab legs into the bowl of butter. Then dumped it onto the first piece of prime rib, slapped the second piece on top and ate the first breadless sandwich I had ever seen.

Mongolian feast

Not a restaurant worker but a patron at Mongolian BBQ in Lansing, MI, a few years back. I saw a family of about seven, all heavy set over 300 pounds each eat six plates and the waitress that was assigned to their table told me that they ate three before I got there.



Chinese tourists in gambling cities go truly Olympic on casino buffets. It doesn’t even make me mad; it borders on the superhuman how much food a tour bus parked in Reno will put away. I’m certain that at least one species of crab has gone completely extinct because of the seafood buffet at the Atlantis meeting with twenty camera-toting slot junkies from Hong Kong.

No disrespect intended towards Chinese tourists, of course. They’re a very important gear in the ever-turning machinery of the gambling community.


He died right there

A couple of years ago we had this small “soul food” all you can eat buffet: The Southern Smoke House. Decent place, always smelled like a sweaty ham, though, and served RC Cola. Some guy came in, ate till he would pass out wake up and start it all over again. Guy had a heart attack and died right there in booth.

Can’t stop the beet

Saw a guy eat the entire bin of pickled beets off an Asian buffet in Lakewood, CO. Huge mound, like 5 inches tall of beets.

The brûlée vacuum

I was at the buffet at The Bellagio in Las Vegas.

An extremely obese man was sitting at a table by himself and not eating.

Until the kitchen staff refilled the the rack of creme brulee. The obese guy immediately got up, grabbed a tray and proceeded to take every single bowl in the rack. Once back at his table, he ate one after another like he was a vacuum. I am guessing he consumed at least 50 of them in less than five minutes.


The difference between Americans and Canadians

I’m from Canada and made a visit to Texas. There I noticed something I’ve never seen before. The real tangible difference between Americans and Canadians.

I went to a Chinese buffet near Houston. Sitting down I noticed to my right a couple eating full plates filled with crawfish.

They must have had three full plates stacked underneath the ones they were currently working on.

I decided to watch and see how much crawfish they could manage and if they could stand up and go for more. They found a good solution, their kids were at the serving area carying more crawfish to their table.

Half an hour later they must have eaten 10 pounds of crawfish between them.

No Chinese food, no… Only plates and plates of crawfish served by their kids.


No pizza for you

I witnessed this at a pizza buffet.

Group of five guys in their late teens/early 20s sat right by the buffet and would dump entire pizzas onto their plates as soon as the pizzas came out. They also cleaned out the dessert bar and emptied the ice maker.

After 45 minutes of this, and having had no chance of getting to the pizza before they did, I asked for a refund and left. The staff wasn’t doing anything to stop these pigs.

Prime Rib & Seafood Night

I work at a small town buffet. Saturday nights is prime rib and seafood (shrimp). We have a regular that eats on average 6-7 lbs of prime rib and 2 lbs of shrimp.


“Gotta live with your mistakes…”

We went to a breakfast buffet for my birthday at The Machine Shed in Des Moines, Iowa. I highly recommend it btw, great food. My friend got a Belgian waffle and started putting what he thought was whipped cream on them. I look at him and say “Dude, that’s whipped butter.” He gets this concerned look on his face and says “Oh…well gotta live with your mistakes.” He proceeds to eat a Belgian waffle with 6 spoonfuls of whipped butter on it.

Another friend took the entire pan of Crab Rangoons when it was brought out at our local Chinese buffet. But he’s a monster tipper so the owners only got mildly annoyed.

The Twilight Hour

As a customer, watching my nephew throw a fit in the middle of a buffet because he thought he could show up at the tail end of lunch and stay through dinner and not have to pay for the dinner portion.

“Just leave already”

I had an ex who got totally shit faced and then went to Sizzler’s with friends for all-you-can-eat shrimp years ago. He ate nine plates of shrimp before the manager came and offered him a $20 gift card to just leave already. He was a super loud, happy, cheeky drunk, and was clapping and cheering loudly for himself with each plate of shrimp he finished.

bacon-stk-2016-oct-01The Bacon Bandita

Used to work at an upscale buffet Sunday mornings at a golf course. We had a “bacon bandita” who would come and stuff trays full of bacon in her purse wrapped in one thin napkin.

Poor server never had a CHANCE

Sat a table away from a family of three with a clear view of their food. This is a pretty nice place (white tablecloth, $75-100 per person) The lady was heavier, but not quite grotesque, and the son was a pretty normal-looking teenager.

The father, or eldest male at the table was this gargantuan, lumbering, slightly British humanoid. Probably 450 lbs at 6’5″ and, I’m not shitting you, I could HEAR his salivary glands kick into gear when they put the bread down. The poor server never had a CHANCE. Immediately upon placing the bread on the table, Gargantos shot his hand into the folded linen and put the entire loaf on his appetizer plate and requested another loaf… and a Coke.


Now, this bread is damn good. I can understand the enthusiasm. But HEARING this man’s breathing rate change (from around 12-15 feet away) and listening to his voice start quivering like he was trying to hold off an impending orgasm alerted me that we’d have to keep notes on this encounter.

The server was also ours, and impressively, we never lacked for attention, though that may be because of what must have been 60 trips to the table nearby. We were able to ask at the end of the meal what the counts were for bread and Cokes.

Gargantos alone had put down 11 loaves, a total of 18 loaves to the table. Around 10 ramekins of butter, and 20!!!! Cokes.

This fucker had an entire four-course meal IN ADDITION to that nonsense. And this food is RICH food.

By my calculations, I put him at nearly 7000 calories before factoring in his goddamn dinner.

That poor server…

Stories have been edited for spelling and flow.

Hit-Or-Miss Now Trending

Watch This Woman Impressively Swallow A Whole Stick Of Butter

“I don’t know how she managed to stick that whole thing in her mouth,” is usually something you’d hear from your scumbag buddy who makes you want to pull out your hair as he brags about his crazy night, but now it applies to this bizarre video, as well.

I’m very certain you guys have absolutely no interest in reading anything, and just want to watch this girl deep throat a stick of butter, but the YouTube comments are the real MVP of this video.

Let’s just highlight some of the feedback, as people responded to this woman’s feat, and did so in a savage fashion:


“Being hot she made the butter slide down easy.” -The Only Way Productions

Ted Mosby should have waited

“And that kids, is how I met your mother.” -Michael Croner

The pornstar reference

“Sasha Grey would not be impressed…” -Weirdsider


“God bless America.” -Elizabeth Andrew

Strange apology, but OK

I have come here to apologise in behalf of all white people… I’m sorry -Dethkok


I can tell, her levels of cholesterol are much higher than her IQ is. -Tiago Santos

h/t brobible

Recipes Video

Whiskey Pancakes: The Tastiest Hangover Remedy To Date [WATCH]

A lot of people think that the best way to get rid of a hangover is to continue drinking the next day, a notion called “hair of the dog.” Unfortunately, drinking a Manhattan at 7 a.m. isn’t always the easiest thing to do, so Food Network’s Justin Warner and Reid Mitenbuler, author of Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of America’s Whiskeyhave teamed up to create the best version of “hair of the dog” we’ve seen yet: whiskey pancakes.

Reid explains how whiskey is made and where it gets its flavor and color from, but only after he and Jason enjoy a few sips here and there of some good ol’ fashioned Bourbon, the American name for whiskey. Jason returns the favor by showing Reid (and viewers) how to make the perfect Manhattan pancakes using vermouth and Maraschino cherries in the butter, then adding bourbon to both the pancake batter and the tangy orange sauce.

Check out the video below to get full details on how to make these amazeballs pancakes.



Photo: Food Network


A 2,000-Year-Old Lump Of Butter Was Found In Ireland — And It’s Theoretically Still Edible


An enormous 2,000-year-old lump of butter was discovered in a bog by an Irish farmer earlier this month.

Jack Conway, from Maghera, Ireland stumbled across an immense 22-pound ball of ancient butter in a bog, a soft, wet and muddy terrain. According to The Irish Times, the “bog butter” was buried five meters deep in Ireland’s northern Cavan County. Andy Halpin, head of the national museum’s antiquities department, told the paper:

“Theoretically the stuff is still edible—but we wouldn’t say it’s advisable.”

Experts say the 2,000-year-old butter is theoretically edible, though consumption of the ingestible artifact is not advisable. Conditions of the bog, such as cool temperatures, low oxygen levels and high acidity, naturally preserved the butter.


Conway, who discovered the butter on June 9, first reported his finding to the Cavan County Museum. The lump of butter was then transported to the National Museum of Ireland to be carbon dated and preserved. Savina Donohoe, curator of the Cavan County Museum, wrote in an email:

“A find like this is extremely significant in terms of our history and heritage. It does smell like butter. And although I did not taste it there was a strong smell from my hands after touching and holding it.”

Donohoe speculates that since the butter was not enclosed in a protective case, it is possible that it was buried as a religious offering. Back in the day, dairy was a luxury food item that could only be afforded by the wealthy. According to the food research nonprofit Nordic Food Lab, dairy was also used as payment in taxes and rent. A bog would have been a safe place for storage.

Kevin Thornton, a culinary chef, admits to have tasted bog butter before, however archaeological experts are put off by its strong and distinctive smell of cheese and crumbly texture.


Finding ancient lumps of butter isn’t that odd in countries like Ireland and Scotland. To date, there have been approximately 400 similar discoveries. In 2013, turf cutters in Ireland’s Offaly county unearthed over 100-pounds of 5,000-year-old bog butter inside a keg.

Written by Laura Dang for NextShark || H/T Quartz

Hit-Or-Miss Video

10 DIY Food Hacks That Will Make You Look Like A Boss

Unless you’re a famous chef like Gordon Ramsay or Bobby Flay, you probably have yet to master the culinary skills needed to reach chef superstardom.

In that case, HouseHold Hacker, a YouTube channel dedicated to posting, “quick & simple” do-it-yourself life hacks has you covered. HouseHold Hacker recently posted a 10-item crash course on simple food hacks that will help you work your way into the culinary hall of fame — if such a thing existed. Check out the video below.

We think these guys are onto something. These hacks are insanely easy and will leave you thinking, “why didn’t I think of that?”

Not only will some of these hacks save your food, but it will keep you from forkin’ out mad dough at the grocery store when your lettuce and basil go bad. Additionally, HouseHold Hacker shows us some really clever ways to use frozen butter and how to make homemade “frozen yogurt.” Where you at, Yougurtland?

Currently, Household Hacker’s channel has more than 3 million subscribers, so it’s safe to say we’re not the only ones taking notes.

Happy hacking!