Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

    KURTORTOISE   9,209
8,500-9,999 SparkPoints

Money-Saving Butter-Stretcher Recipe from WWII

Sunday, October 24, 2010

If you've ever gone into a restaurant that gave you a generous tub of butter along with the bread, this is the butter-stretcher recipe they used.

It was concocted in 1944 (a period of heavy wartime rationing) by The Mystery Chef, a well-known "radio" chef, and the predecessor of all the current male chefs now on cable TV.
It was such an improvement over previous butter-stretcher recipes (which mixed butter and gelatin, or butter and margarine) that it's still in commercial use today.
In fact, many of his economical recipes weren't just popular with housewives, they also found their way into restaurants and diners.

Here is his recipe, which was broadcast in 1944. It increases the vitamin content, but I don't think it does much to reduce the caloric content:

1/2lb - Butter
1 Egg
1/2pt Light Cream (or 1 Can Evaporated Milk if food rationing is heavy in your area)

-- Cream the 1/2lb of butter until soft & white
-- Break the Egg into the butter and mix with a [hand-held] rotary beater. You can use an electric beater if it has a very slow speed setting.
-- Heat the Cream (or Evaporated Milk) to body temperature.
-- Add 1 Tablespoon of the cream to the Butter/Egg mixture and beat it in until it is mixed completely.
-- Continue to repeat the step above until all the cream has been mixed in.
-- Do not add the next tablespoon until the previous one has been completely mixed in.
-- The finished Butter/Egg/Cream mixture will be very soft, so put it in the refrigerator.
-- It will be ready in less than an hour.

The Mystery Chef was actually Scotsman John MacPherson, a former chemical engineer who arrived in America from London in 1906. He started on radio in the 1930s when he took over a program for a friend and soon began to share his love of cooking with his listening audience. His "Mystery Chef" radio program ran from 1931-45.
His programs featured recipes for a limited budget, limited equipment and limited know how and became very popular with thousands of people.
He did not use his real name on the radio in deference to his mother, who likened his radio appearances to those of actors -- a profession she detested.

Used copies of his best-known book are still available.

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
FUTUREHOPE49 1/30/2011 5:09AM

    I have heard of it at Womens Institute. I think I may give it a try! Thank you!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SIRIRADHA 11/29/2010 7:16PM

    It's been a while since I did it, but found this online:

Cut back on saturated fat and use much less butter on your toast and muffins by softening 2 sticks of butter to room temperature. Then put the whisk attachment on your stand mixer (I use a Kitchen Aid).

Start whipping those two sticks of butter while you slowly drizzle one cup of vegetable, olive, or canola oil into it. (Your choice of oil). I like the canola because olive oil adds it's own taste to the butter. Canola oil leaves the butter tasting like butter.

Scrape up the sides now and then to incorporate all the butter into the oil. Whip until light and fluffy. It might look like a light cake batter when it's done. Pour it into individual containers with lids and refrigerate until needed.

Report Inappropriate Comment
KURTORTOISE 11/29/2010 3:49PM

    SIRIRADHA: Could you define "smush" a little more?
Is it basically the same procedure, but with olive oil only (no eggs, no cream)?
And, how much oil did she suggest you "smush" into it?
I guess that would work with Safflower Oil, also, so I'm interested.

Comment edited on: 11/29/2010 3:55:49 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
SIRIRADHA 11/29/2010 2:54PM

    That really is interesting! A lady at the grocery store taught me to smush olive oil into the butter.

Report Inappropriate Comment
KURTORTOISE 11/29/2010 2:39PM

    AZTLAN777: I don't know myself, but someone who works at a restaurant might know. I've been told that many restaurants who don't use those little butter pats use this or a similar recipe to stretch their butter. I thought if I posted it here as a blog there would be someone who has had previous experience with it, either at home or in a restaurant.

This recipe was created during a period when less than two-thirds of the population had a refrigerator or an icebox (which required ice to be put in the top compartment), so I don't think that it would have gone bad very quickly -- but they had much fresher eggs and cream then.

If you have old plastic butter or margarine tubs, It might be good to split up a batch into usable portions and freeze the containers that you won't be using right away -- I know I can freeze butter, and I don't think the fact that an egg and some cream is well-beaten into the butter would make much of a difference.

Report Inappropriate Comment
AZTLAN777 11/29/2010 12:16PM

    I have a long will it keep, since it has raw egg and cream in it? Anyone know?

Report Inappropriate Comment
60SIXTY 10/30/2010 3:02PM

    This is very interesting.
I bet we could learn a lot of tricks from that era.
I don't think my mother really learned how to make anything but noodles as a kid, as they didn't have meat very often. I think they ate a lot of soup.
So, she was pretty much self taught.

Report Inappropriate Comment
LENIASTY 10/25/2010 6:37PM

    Interesting - I never knew about it before! We do not have much butter in my family and personally I have not had any butter or margarine for over two years now, however I may try the recipe just so I know what it is like!

Good of you to share it - thanks! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
STIPER23 10/25/2010 12:58PM

    Interesting! I never thought about that before!

Report Inappropriate Comment
JULIAMOONCHILD 10/25/2010 12:42PM

    Wow, isn't it amazing the things that people will come up with when pressed by hard times. Have you ever tried making it, yourself?
For a while now I have been buying real butter from some Amish friends of mine. I also get fresh eggs from them, too, and, on occasion, milk. What struck me about the milk was how sweet it is when it comes fresh from the cow. Anyway, they also sell cream, buttermilk and even skim milk. Maybe I should pass on this recipe to the Amish for those times when the cows go dry, and hens aren't laying.
Actually, I'm not sure if any of that ever happens, but it sounds like something that would. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
FARMERJENN73 10/25/2010 12:04PM

    My husband goes through butter like it's water. This recipe could come in handy. I'll have to find time to give it a whirl. Thanks Kurt.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SRIVERS1 10/25/2010 1:17AM

    Thank you Kurt. I will hav to try it.

Report Inappropriate Comment
CAROLFAITHWALKR 10/25/2010 12:47AM

    Wow - who knew???! I had no idea.

Report Inappropriate Comment
KURTORTOISE 10/24/2010 9:56PM

    I don't know GrandKatz.
This is still done by restaurants, so it must "keep" for a while -- and I've heard that the unused portion from the butter serving dishes gets brought back to the kitchen and returned to the main container in the fridge, so "a while" could really be a while.

What about egg substitute (not that I think that's healthier)?

Report Inappropriate Comment
GRANDKATZ 10/24/2010 9:35PM

    Interesting method of stretching the butter. If anyone tries it, I would love to hear how it turns out, texture, taste, etc. How long do you think this will keep, considering a raw egg is mixed into it?

emoticon for sharing this with everyone.

Report Inappropriate Comment
LOOSEINGIT 10/24/2010 8:30PM


I'm not a big butter eater but it may come in handy some day.

Report Inappropriate Comment

Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

Log in to post a comment.