Submitted by John on Wed, 12/14/2011 - 04:43

Butter cow at the Big EThe earliest memory I have of my mother teaching me anything about cooking (possibly earlier than staying away from a hot stove) was to ALWAYS bake with butter. It is burnt into my memory indelibly. 

I love butter. But butter isn't always just butter. There are different brands, different seasons, different shapes...does it make any difference? It depends what you are doing with it.

I knew an old woman who despised unsalted butter, said it "tastes like vaseline", wouldn't have it in the house. On the other hand, I prefer unsalted always, because I can add as much salt as I need when I need it. If all you do is spread it on toast, maybe you need the salt, but there are many way to enjoy butter. (No, I am not referring to Last Tango in Paris!)

Butter is so fundamental to western cuisine that it deserves a ful democratic treatment.  Let's use the comments area to review, compare and contrast salted and unsalted, cultured (and barbarian?) butter, seasonal variations - can you really taste the difference? Can you put it into words?