Thursday, March 22, 2007

Western stubby

One of the weird things I had to get used to when we moved to Seattle was the shape of the butter. No, really.

Butter in Minnesota is long and slender. Butter in Seattle is usually sold in a form called "the Western stubby" (yes, that sounds dirty to me, too) and is short and fat. People in Minnesota look at me with disbelief when I describe it and people in Seattle don't seem to know any other way.

Apparently now Minnesota's own Land o'Lakes is giving in and making butter in the Western stubby format, but will only sell it in Western states.


Brian said...

I know West Coasters have always called them "cubes" of butter instead of "sticks", but I have never heard the term "The Western Stubby" before.

It does, however, explain the "cube" thing, since our high-falutin' Eastern butter looks nothing like a cube.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who is totally confused? as in how are the 4 sticks of butter that come in every pack of butter ever produced not sticks? I always thought they were made the way they are for measuring as in the little tablespoon notches on the sides and the fact that a stick equals half a cup (or whatever).

Also i need to know is the east coast best foods slogan Bring out the hellmans and bring out the hell?

Annie said...

I never knew butter came in shapes other than the stick until just now. I've already learned my "something new" for the day, and it's only 8AM. Should I leave work and go back to bed?

Claudia said...

I'm so glad to know that's a common, regional thing. I noticed the weird 'stubby' butter when we moved out to Tucson and wondered what the heck was up with the funny shape.

Shannon said...

I'm so glad you cleared this up for me! Coming from Ohio, I was used to the long sticks. I just assumed that butter companies switched to a new format when I got out to Seattle. Never realized it was regional.

Would be interesting to see a list of regional food variations like this, wouldn't it?! Like red cream soda vs. clear cream soda.

growler said...

Is that the shape that Whole Foods uses? They aren't cubes, but they are stubbier than the usual sticks.

Still, they're based in Texas, which is far from "Western.'

Lesley said...

Yes! In NYC, we have the long, normal sticks. I moved to CA a few weeks ago, and thought I was losing my mind when all my butters were short and fat. One is too few for the butter dish and two means the lid doesn't fit. I don't get it and I don't like it.

I also never knew I had an opinion on butter sticks, heh.

Kaijsa said...

A Seattle paper, which might have been the Weekly, had a story on this a couple of years ago. They wanted to know why the western states use the stubby shape, but nobody can find any documentation. I'm a librarian, and I tried, as did some of my colleagues, to no avail. All I can say is that I live in Wyoming now, where we have the skinny sticks. I miss the western stubbies I grew up with in the northwest. They fit my fiesta ware butter dish.

girl_in_greenwood said...

I was an idiot when I first moved to Seattle and thought the stubbies were actually less butter than the skinny sticks. So I used two of 'em making a batch of oatmeal cookies which melted into squishy oatmeal flatness in the oven. Still tasted okay, though.

Anonymous said...

See Wikipedia:

Elgin = Eastern part of US, skinny sticks
Western-Pack = Western part of US, stubby sticks

The most annoying thing (as someone who grew up in Iowa, is that I can't find any butter dishes to fit the "Western-Pack" butter sticks. My Rubbermaid dish that worked perfectly in Iowa sucks for Western Pack butter. If anyone has a better suggestion, I would appreciate it.