How to be on Top of Things

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Feeling spread thin? Aren’t we all? We’re so overextended, involved in so many things–like jelly or butter on a slice of bread. The coverage is there; it’s so spare, however, we can barely taste the goodies.

Paying homage to the concept, of a healthy diet, many today opt for margarine.

Napoleon III started things with a processed suet and milk mixture as a cheap butter substitute for his troops. It was later introduced to the American public as butterine, and shortly thereafter as oleomargarine (c.1873) from the Latin oleum, “oil” and the Greek margaron, “pearl,” from the pearl-like luster of a glyceride thought erroneously to be an ingredient. and pronounced with a hard “g “as in “gosh and golly.”

Butter being in short supply during WWII, oleo was widely used on the home front where housewives squeezed and kneaded plastic bags of white oleo together with the yellow-orange coloring packet.

The Dairy industry imposed strict regulations on its use—that it go by the full name oleomargarine and that restaurants offer it in triangles rather than butter’s traditional square pats. At the end of war we dropped the oleo, and the days of margarine were on us. It’s been a slippery slope, ever since.

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