Friday, July 8, 2011

Buttery sticks and bricks

I may have whinged about their units of measurement, bemoaned the sadness of cream in the US, and still get put off by the strange, unnaturally orange colour of American cheddar... but you know what America does right?

(Photo source)
American butter is wrapped into small blocks, called 'sticks'. A stick of butter is 4-oz, or 113g - depending which language of measurement you speak. Roughly, half a cup.

I think that's brilliant... and I'm not even being sarcastic. I actually mean it.

Australian butter is sold in 250g blocks. Seriously, how often does one encounter a recipe that calls for an entire cup of butter? I used to find lost stubs of half-wrapped blobs of butter in my fridge - a lot - as a result of always needing to cut up said 250g butter blocks.

Lost buttery souls in my fridge no longer exist. More often than not, if I only need 1/4 cup of butter, that's half a stick. Nice and neat. And if on the rare occasion I do require more than half a cup of butter - well, two sticks soften to room temperature a hell of a lot quicker than a 250g brick.

I think that's how I'll refer to Australian butter portions from now on - bricks. Butter bricks and sticks. A nice distinction, no?

Kind of ironic, though, when I ponder the American need to make everything else super-sized. Buckets for coffee and popcorn, but neat little sticks for butter. 'Tis a funny world we live in...


  1. "A loaf of bread, a container of milk and a stick of butter ... I REMEMBER! I REMEMBER!" (an old line from Sesame Street).

    I agree ... that is a perfect size for butter. I always end up with so much left over and going rancid in the fridge.

    As a side note, I'm guessing that although the sticks of butter are tiny, there may well be an entire stick in your standard bucket of popcorn and I think that still translates to the Australian standard measurement
    "a s#!+load".

    A bucket of coffee sounds reasonable to me. I wouldn't mind one of those.

  2. It's for baking purposes. America has a lot of bakers. I always get the sticks when I make cookies, and the tubs for everything else.

  3. Melbo - you're right! I try not to think about how much butter goes into the food I eat. Mmm... butter... I'm with Julia Childs on that, and will never be a skinny minnie.

    Amy - Australia has a lot of bakers too ;) Although, if you're going by sheer population numbers, instead of percentage, America definitely wins. I'm just surprised none of the Aust. dairy companies have realised how much better sticks of butter would be.

  4. Mel! I remember that, too!

    I have always loved 'stick of butter' - just like the way it sounds.

    And yes, my fridge conceals half-used bricks of forgotten butter.