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Drawn Butter vs. Margarine

Why do restaurants insist on serving some oily concoction with margarine and call it drawn butter? Nothing ruins a lobster or crab dinner more. And what's more insulting, when asked, they insist it is butter. We know better. I wish there was a list or hall of shame to post the names of these restaurants that offend our taste buds and intelligence. (my wife feels I need to get a life).

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  1. You already have a life. You're saving us from what Tony Bourdain referred to as the end of the night leftovers once the breadcrumbs and cigarette butts had been strained out. Mmmmm tasty. My husband and I are those folks who don't put anything on our seafood except some lemon to make it taste good. I would recommend it to anyone. I always felt like after one bite with the "butter" especially in restaurants my tongue was coated and I couldn't taste anything else. Bleah.

    1. If you want to move the needle on the barf-o-meter, order "buttered" toast with breakfast at any Waffle House. Then notice the average weight and girth of everyone quietly and slowly eating, all around you. You will feel like you are in an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

      1. I think it's the same crap a lot of cinemas put on popcorn, anhydrous butter fat, or something like that I remeber from working at a cinema as a teenager.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rednyellow

          I actually like that crap. Movie popcorn is a guilty pleasure.

        2. Drawn butter. Right. Somebody drew a picture of a stick of butter on the side of the industrial-sized tub of chemical goo they're serving up a ramekin at a time. Nasty.

          When I was a pup I worked in a classy restaurant (okay, it was "classy" for the 1970s in Tulsa, Oklahoma) where the "butter" was whipped and pressed in decorative molds. Problem was, the stuff was 1/3 butter and 2/3 margarine processed together in the big ol' Hobart mixer. Once again, nasty. Give me a Land o' Lakes pat in the foil wrapper any day of the week.

          Can't vouch for this factoid, but it's been told to me as true: margarine is the only thing that people eat that cockroaches won't.

          1 Reply
          1. re: alanbarnes

            Southern Hills...JJ Cale...real butter..didn't know you were a Tulsa boy, Alan. No wonder we like you.

          2. Where are you getting this? I don't eat lobster that often, and when I do it's usually either on the Maine coast or Cape Cod. I've never been served anything but real butter. Margarine would truly be nauseating.

            2 Replies
            1. re: BobB

              How about 4 nights ago at a crab joint in New Castle, DE. They tried to pass off a cup of STP oil treatment for butter. We travel for both work and pleasure and go to Maine at least once a year. Occasionally, a restaurant will try and pass margarine for butter and it happens more than you know. Maybe i'm too fussy. What can I say.

              1. re: ptcandy

                I'm pretty picky too (I am a Chowhound, after all!) and have sometimes been served butter (not melted, just for spreading) that really was butter and was still inedible. Butter absorbs smells and flavors like a sponge and some restaurants store it unwrapped in proximity to some pretty nasty things - or at least things that don't taste good in butter.

            2. I'd welcome margarine after I once had a disconcerting experience at a restaurant in Aruba. I ordered lobster and it came it some drawn "butter." Throughout the duration of the entire meal, the "butter" never hardened, even when it was stone cold.