I seldom make a splurge purchase without considering it for a while. By splurge I do not mean ultra expensive, just something that I feel I could live easily without. Last year I splurged on a "butter bell". I prefer using real butter for cooking and as a spread. A friend once told me, "If you leave margarine sitting outside, the bugs won't even eat it because it's not real food." That stuck with me. So, we use butter in our house. I had heard of butter bells years ago, but had never gone looking for one. I had a little birthday money and thought, why not?
Have you ever tried to spread cold butter on bread? Of course, we all have, it just doesn't work well. What is a butter lover to do? Enter the butter bell. It allows you to keep butter at room temperature without spoiling.
Room temperature butter spreads easily, and is so nice to have around. Yes, I know that you can soften it in the microwave, but I always overdo it. And, I'm not a fan of waiting for an hour or more for it to come to room temperature on it's own.
The Butter Bell comes in two pieces. The bottom is simply a jar that holds a couple of inches of cool water. The lid, when lifted, reveals an upside-down container that you pack the softened butter into. When the lid is placed on the jar, the water creates an airtight seal around the lip of the butter container, which keeps it from spoiling. I'm sure Alton Brown of "Good Eats" fame (I love that show!) could give you the scientific reasons for this. I can't, but I can tell you that butter kept this way will stay fresh on the counter for several weeks, as long as you change the water every few days. Here is information from the experts. This site also happens to have a special going right now, if you buy 2 they will send you a Christmas themed bell for free. Just a thought for any butter lovers on you Christmas list.
The Butter Bell can be elusive, although a Google search just revealed more sources than I found last year. Mine is hand-made, purchased from ebay. There are a lot of antique versions available, because these were common in kitchens before refrigeration became readily available. I guess that adds to the appeal for me. I love history, and this keeps a little piece of it alive in my every day life.
So, it was a splurge, yes. I had kept a relatively normal household for over 14 years sans butter bell. But, it is a purchase that I do not regret. In fact, it is one of my favorite things.