food

East vs. West Coast Butter

Today I was gathering ingredients to bake cookies and I was thinking about butter. Prior to moving to the West Coast of the US, I had visited many times. One thing I never noticed was that the butter shapes are different. Perhaps this isn’t surprising, how often do you buy butter when you are merely visiting a place? Most people only live 18 miles from their mom as well, so it is unlikely they have lived on both coasts. So most people probably never had the opportunity to notice the difference.

According to a Marketplace article, the East Coast used to be way ahead of the West on butter production. Once the West caught up it bought newer machines which made the shorter sticks. The article also mentions that ‘The long and skinny sticks of butter are called “Elgins,” because that’s the company that made the machines. The other ones are called “Western Stubbies.”‘

My understanding is in the Midwest there is a mix of both types. I only remember the long skinny ones and I suspect my mom only does as well. When visiting she insisted on taking two Western Stubbies out of the fridge because they were smaller (both weigh 4 ounces). When really both types are the same size. Though according to the Wikipedia article the Elgin style dominates East of the Rockies.

I wonder what other regional food manufacturing differences are out there. This is the main one of which I’m aware.

Time to get baking.

Cookie Ingredients
Cookie ingredients including my stubbie butter.

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