The Butter Battle Comes to Wisconsin

Restaurants, prisons, and schools in Wisconsin are forbidden by law from serving margarine unless it is explicitly requested. The Dairy State takes its butter seriously, of course. But the law, which carries a $100 to $300 fine plus possible jail time, is rarely enforced.

Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield), one of the 12 legislators looking to repeal the rules against margarine substitution for butter, calls the law "silly, antiquated and anti-free market."

Heck, even one of the state's biggest butter-makers (churners?) has a soft spot for repeal, telling the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

"I'm a little torn about this law," said Trevor Wuethrich, the fourth-generation co-owner of Grassland Dairy Products, headquartered in Greenwood, halfway between Eau Claire and Wausau. Grassland operates two plants in Wisconsin and also owns West Point Dairy Products, with plants in Utah and Nebraska.

"Everybody should eat butter - prisoners and school children included," he said. "I'm not going to say everybody must have butter. Everybody should have a choice."

Check out the Journal-Sentinel article for some outstanding retro shots of 1960s housewives shamelessly bootlegging margarine.

For more on the history of oleo prohibition, plus bonus bootlegger mugshots, go here.

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  • mr simple||

    There are actually people in he comments on that story upset about this because they make butter in Wisconsin, dammit, so people should be forced to use it.

  • o2||

    damn that local control

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    You're fucking idiot.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    And I'm a fucking idiot for forgetting the "a" in between "you're" and "fucking."

    But that does not change the fact that you are, indeed, A fucking idiot.

  • o2||

    meh

  • Gimlet||

    y do u post here

  • squarooticus||

    Everything not prohibited is mandatory.

  • PantsFan||

    The corollary: Everything not mandatory is prohibited.

  • Restoras||

    Margarine is an abomination.

  • Tman||

    ^^this.

    The law in question is a giant pile of stupid, but Margarine is a blight upon humanity.

  • Lord Humungus||

    I love me my butter!

  • PantsFan||

    Thanks to the dairy industry in the Province of Quebec, margarine sold there may not be yellow

  • Colonel_Angus||

    It actually makes a fucking difference when it is an invisible ingredient in something else?

  • ||

    Yes.

  • ||

    How the fuck can such a law have been passed and held constitutional in the first place?

  • T||

    Why wouldn't it be constitutional, Epi? The police power has always included the ability to ban stuff for the public good. Yeah, it's dumb as a box of rocks and economic protectionism of the first order, but that doesn't mean it would be unconstitutional.

  • ||

    Uh, how does this serve the "public good"?

  • o2||

    obviously in wisconson the locals feel it does. or would epi impose epi's own vision of teh [GOODZ]

  • T||

    Because if we let people buy something other than butter, all the dairy farmer will become poor and loot and pillage as poor folk are wont to do. Duh. We have to prop up dairymen or society will collapse.

    And before you think I'm kidding, the feds have the same policy today, so our propping up dairymen must be working, since civilization hasn't collapsed.

  • ||

    Uh, how does this serve the "public good"?

    That's where "judicial deference" comes in.

  • ||

    The Anti-Federalists of the republican founding are spinning the living fuck out of their graves and tombs at this very moment.

  • robc||

    No, they are smugly claiming that they were right all along.

  • MJ||

    I wonder hoe many people who think Florida cannot mandate that pediatricians not ask nosy questions about guns in the home think Wisconsin making serving margerine a crime is well within the bounds of acceptable government authority?

  • ||

    Everybody should have a choice.

    Now the teachers will picket him.

  • ||

    My neighbor's seven-year-old kid could beat those dumb-as-fucking-bricks socialist public school teachers in any argument/debate. You know, of the type we saw with Matt Damon in that Reason video.

    They can picket all they want -- anybody worth a shit isn't going to pay any attention to them.

  • ¢||

    Margarine is an abomination.

    An old friend of mine (who's dead now, so I can't ask him about this) was a super-nerdy chemistry-minded chef who had a really good science-type explanation for why there were some situations where the post-cooking chemical remnants of margarine would taste better in finished dishes than the post-cooking chemical remnants of butter would, but I can't find anything on the internet about that, because everything on the internet about butter vs. margarine is about how poor people suck.

    Good job, The Future.

  • ||

    An old friend of mine (who's dead now

    Margarine did it.

  • Brett||

    In those circumstances where butter tastes better than margarine does margarine still taste better than lard?

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    Margarine has a uniform melting temperature so it could make for softer baked goods.

  • kilroy||

    Alton Brown is dead?

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    No, but his TV show is.

  • ||

    Yeah, everyone should have a choice. But who the fuck would choose margarine over butter?

  • o2||

    teh [FATZ] people who also drink diet coke

  • ||

    My brother.

    He hates butter and complains if it's served instead of margarine.

    His favorite group is Nickelback.

  • ||

    His favorite group is Nickelback.

    Say no more.

  • Marlon Brando||

    Not me.

  • ||

    My wife. Can you beat talk some sense into her?

  • Sparky||

    Mine too. And since she does the grocery shopping it's margarine every week. I suppose I could do some shopping and get real butter. Instead I suffer in silence.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    "who the fuck would choose margarine over butter?"

    Someone who knows how to cook, and knows when margarine will produce better results than butter?

  • Mainer||

    "...prisoners and school children included..."

    But I repeat myself.

  • ||

    +10

  • o2||

    butter not [SCHOOLZ] or [UNIONZ]

  • Warty||

    I remember reading that book when I was about 7 and noticing that it was an insultingly simplistic Cold War parable. Fuck Dr. Seuss's odious commie politics.

  • T||

    He had some odious moments, but I don't think communism was high on his list.

  • Warty||

    Speaking of Dr. Seuss, try to reconcile cartoon 1 and cartoon 2.

  • T||

    Beat me by four minutes. Dammit.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    We all are in danger, said Thing 1 and Thing 2
    The Japs are all coming, they're coming for you
    But please do not panic and please don't get cramps
    Just take all the Japs and then put them in camps!

  • Mitch Hedberg||

    I've seen through the boolshit. Butter is way better than margarine.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    The constitutional right to eat margarine can be found in the penumbras of emanations from some entirely made-up judicial philosophy that sprung fully formed from Justice William O. Douglas's ass.

  • Warty||

    Who still eats margarine, anyway? I thought it had become common knowledge that butter is better for you, besides being obviously much more delicious.

  • Jordan||

    I doubt it's common knowledge, since most people still believe the Lipid Hypothesis bullshit.

  • JD the elder||

    Here's what blew my mind: "Since 2009, butter consumption per capita has been about 5 pounds, the highest since 1970 but still a far cry from the 18 pounds per year the average American consumed in 1910."

    18 POUNDS A YEAR?! And yet somehow we're fatter now. That was some delicious food those skinny people were eating back then, that's for sure.

  • Warty||

    I have a cookbook from about 1895. Shit in it is GOOD, mostly because of butter. Someday I'll get my courage up and try its buttery roast raccoon recipe.

  • Gimlet||

    When I was in grade school (1960's) lunch came with bread slathered with butter.

  • robc||

    Portion size.

    And of course, manual labor.

  • R||

    Many more people were involved in heavy manual labor in 1910. They literally worked their assess off. Technology has made us soft (NTTAWWT).

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Butter is over used as a cooking oil.

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