Friday, May 25, 2012

The Butter Battle

There is a long-standing disagreement between me and My Lovely Wife that predates the births of our children and even our marriage.

Way back when -- almost exactly 20 years ago when our hearts first went all twitterpated over each other -- there were many distracting idiosyncracies we each carried into our relationship. Most of those quirks stemmed from our base personalities.

Me: forgetful; disorganized.

Her: memory like a steel trap; a demand for structure that could take the holler out of the toughest drill sergeant.

Some disparities came from our differing upbringings. For instance, we didn't wash bath towels every day. How dirty can they possibly get from one use? After all, you should be at your cleanest when you use them, right? But not so in her house. Bath towels were washed daily, regardless of their dormant potential for additional absorption and their relative lack of contaminants. As most couples do, we found ways to address these kinds of issues by adopting one partner's preference or creating new protocols we could call our own.

One pesky issue, however, has lingered for two decades. In my mind, it is a matter of common sense. For My Lovely Wife, it is a matter of order. No matter how you look at it, buttering corn on the cob is a loaded issue in our home.

An unacceptable result of
barbaric behavior.
I grew up employing a simple method for enveloping my corn in buttery goodness. A dish holding a stick of margarine would be placed on the table and my family would take it in turn to roll their cobs on it. Sure, by the time everyone's corn was adequately buttered the stick looked like an animal had attacked it, but the process exemplified efficiency. It never occurred to me, nor had it ever to any rational person, this method might strike some as disturbingly barbaric.

Try as I might, I could never make My Lovely Wife acknowledge the benefits of the rolling technique. It went against every fiber of her nature. It resulted in corn-tainted margarine that no longer could serve any other purpose. It simply was not the kind of thing a person teetering on the brink of OCD (on a good day) could tolerate.

For years we have tried to come up with a suitable solution. Many times I've fought with little pats of margarine, watching helplessly as they slip from between my knife and the cob only to land on some unsuspecting meal item that has no business mixing with margarine. Then there were the experiments with squeeze margarine. That oozing, chemical-flavored, I-can't-believe-it's-not-giving-me-cancer grease in a bottle is no substitute for the real thing.

Then, maybe a week ago, an amazing thing happened. Our Daughter and I managed to weaken My Lovely Wife's resolve and place a stick of margarine on the table for rolling. She didn't like it, but she went along with it. Then last night we tried it again. We all rolled our corn and mangled the margarine, perhaps a little too gleefully in my case.

As we sat there digesting, My Lovely Wife looked innocently at me and said: "That really does make it a lot easier to butter your corn..."

© 2012 Mark Feggeler


  1. Lessen the creep factor for her. Put a chunk of butter on a piece of bread (we use the most stale piece in the loaf), and roll your corn on that. It's easy, and then the leftover butter is still useable and doesn't look mangled and gross...

  2. OR try it Paula Deen-style. Slather mayonnaise on the ear of corn, then sprinkle liberally with parmesan cheese, wrap each ear in foil, and roast in the BBQ pit. I've never tried it, but it WOULD get the ear of corn greasy and delicious (I imagine) and not mangle a stick of butter/margarine.