Margarine was invented by a Frenchman, the flamboyantly named Hippolyte Mège-Mouriés , but it wasn't his fault. For that we have to thank Emperor Napoleon III, who in 1869 offered a prize to anyone that could make something people (soldiers and poor people were his target audience) would believe was butter but actually wasn't. Once again someone bearing that singular name brought the whole French nation into disrepute. Be it the Peninsular War, Waterloo, Invading Russia or Margarine, it seems the family name of Napoleon has thrived on Very Bad Ideas. Thank the Lord then for Wellington and more to the point to those self same poor French people who went about making bloody good butter all the same.
Good butter is one of the main reasons I write this blog. Yes, of course I bang on about restaurants, where to find a good sausage roll and the best way to eat a chicken wing (actually, I don't think I have done those last two) but when it boils down to it, the simple pleasure of butter on bread is the high point of my day. I probably eat a bit too much, but screw it, a couple of extra lengths in the pool and I'm good.
This particular butter, an Echire demi-sel bought from those very surly blokes at Borough Market, yeah, you know who I mean, was everything good butter should be. A certain firmness born of nobility and not just frigidity (can I just point out that is probably the most pretentious sentence written on any food blog, ever). A silky quality as the knife cuts through and spreads it onto bread. The hit of creaminess and the sea salt twang followed by that long mellow sweetness. Man, eating a single ingredient does not get much sexier than that. Many a horrific meal has been rescued by the mere presence of some pretty good butter and a not quite stale baguette.