May 18, 2009

What would Charlie Brown choose?

While biting into my banana cupcake with cream cheese frosting today, my companion pointed out (with a slight air of disdain) that it had been made with vegetable oil. I think she was right, but I wonder, would it really have tasted better if it had been prepared with butter? This eventually got me thinking about the question: "Butter or oil?" I think it reveals a lot about one's personal taste and personality.

For example, I imagine that, posed with such a question, wishy-washy, Charlie-Brown types might select invisible option C (melted butter) in order to avoid hurting anyone's feelings.

But I have a confession to make. If a recipe calls for melted butter, I use oil*. Butter lovers would probably cringe at such a practice. Un-apron that girl! I imagine them saying. She doesn't deserve to be baking in any kitchen. But in my defense, I think it makes plenty of sense; after all:
1.) I'm simply much too lazy to melt a stick of butter. And I've had one too many bad experiences with melting butter in the microwave.
2.) The more quickly I get a pastry baked, the sooner it's in my stomach. And oil is undisputedly faster.
3.) If oil's good enough for my eggs, then it's good enough for my loaves, too.

Still, I have to admit that sometimes I feel guilty about this substitution. But then I think, who cares? Recipes were written to be modified, not followed blindly like fascist dictators. Right?

*Except in the case of Rice Krispies treats – never mess with perfection, I say!

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