I use butter and olive oil rather than margarine or other substitutes. After all, the flavor of butter is what all the butter substitutes claim they have.
I use a 2 1/2 inch paint brush to lightly brush a pan or hot food with a bit of butter for flavor. A stick of butter lasts 2 weeks or more. I do leave my butter out in a snap top container so that it stays soft. If I need to firm it up I just drop in a couple of ice cubes.
Cautionary note: You can pick up great gobs of butter with a paint brush as well as any other spreader, so over doing is easy, so is keeping it light, that's your call of course.
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