Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Won't Miss #463 - baker unfriendly butter

This is one of those dumb little things that probably matters more to me than nearly anyone else for a variety of reasons, but it remains a personal point nonetheless. I lived in Japan long enough to leave extended tourist mode and live a normal life. Part of normal life for me is cooking and baking for myself. One of the things about butter sold in Japan is that it is sold in big foil-wrapped 200 gram (1 cup) blocks. Sometimes you could buy a variety with some markings on the foil to allow you to awkwardly cut a tablespoon out, but most of the time there was nothing at all. I had forgotten that butter in America comes in stick and half-stick sizes with clear tablespoon markings along the package to make it quick and easy to measure for baking. Even if you bake by weight, it's still easier to manage sticks than one large wad. Also, if you use butter as a spread, you don't have to handle a large amount or leave it out in the butter dish all at once if you have small individually wrapped portions. In fact, given what fans the Japanese are of wrapping small amounts, this remained on of the few things which did not come in convenient smaller sizes.  

Though many things in Japan are arranged for maximum consumer convenience, the lack of a strong baking culture meant the butter wasn't one of them and I won't miss it.