The One Ingredient That Is Always in My Kitchen

(Image credit: Dana Velden)

What one single ingredient is always stocked in your kitchen? For us, there are often lemons, eggs, and a block of cheddar, but there’s one ingredient we are rarely caught without. It’s an ingredient that would make Julia Child proud: butter. Even more specifically, soft butter.

Is there anything more delicious than a fresh baguette, toasted and slathered with soft melting butter, then lightly salted? Sure, there are a few instances where cold butter is a necessity — in making pie crust for example — but in general, I’m a proud fan of keeping butter at room temperature. Honestly, who wants to destroy their toast with a knife trying to spread cold butter? Just say no.

Growing up, leaving any dairy out was a major no-no. Although we usually had real butter around (as opposed to all those frighteningly yellow low-cal margarine spreads!), its place was firmly in the fridge. I’m not sure when it occurred to me that leaving butter on the counter top was totally acceptable and logical, but let’s just say it was a magical time. My love for butter skyrocketed, which I suppose was either good or bad depending on how you look at it.

Nowadays, a cute little owl butter dish houses a half stick at a time on the counter. Even in our sometimes temperature challenged apartment, it all works out. We’ve never once had butter go rancid — maybe because we use it all up first? Just be sure to refill the dish — in our house, using up the last of the butter is tantamount to not replacing the toilet paper roll.

Do you keep butter on the counter?