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Do you use margarine?

newfoodie May 16, 2009 08:07 AM

I just read the thread on salted vs. unsalted butter and I was surprised to see few mentions of margarine. I use unsalted butter for baking but for regular uses in small amounts, I stick with Olivio. I realize that Olivio isn't margarine exactly, more like an EVOO spread. So now I'm curious what other people use, any thoughts?

  1. al b. darned May 23, 2009 09:26 AM

    Hi. My name is Al and I use margarine. This is my first time here at Margarine-Users Anonymous. Excuse the bag I have over my head, but I am too embarrassed to show my face in public.

    I came here tonight because of the extreme guilt trip others tried to lay on me for using margarine. This is especially true of posters on some food Web site forums.To them, it seems, it would only be fitting for me to hang a big red "M" around my neck. It doesn't seem to matter that I use olive oil when I cook and real butter when I (or DW) bakes. Maybe my guilt stems from the fact that I have never sent the restaurant bread basket back because some of the little cups in the accompanying bowl contain margarine.

    I have to confess to the tub of Country Crock hidden in the back of the shelf in the fridge. And late at night (or early in the morning), when no one else is around, I sneak into the kitchen and make some toast. And on that toast I put....well...um...margarine. (Gasp from the crowd!) Honest! It's the only thing I use it on!

    I have tried to reconcile the fact that margarine has no saturated fats to clog my arteries and the brands I buy have no trans fats, but the guilt still lingers. The ease of spreading nearly offsets the shame of spending half as much for a 15 oz pound tub of CC compared to a full pound of butter.

    Maybe, with continued counseling, along with the continued support from you good folks here at MA, I will, one day, be able to hold my head up in public, and proudly announce to all who will listen, "I use margarine!"

    I have to go now and mingle with the rest of the peasants. Thank you.

    3 Replies
    1. re: al b. darned
      Jen76 May 23, 2009 10:29 AM

      LOL! I use Smart Balance (or Earth Balance - same company). I will join MA with you. Although I have real butter and local EVOO in the pantry, the SB comes in handy sometimes and helps keep the husband's cholesterol in check.

      1. re: al b. darned
        Lewes17266 May 23, 2009 11:30 AM

        Shame! Shame! Shame! Ohhh...shame on you, Al!

        1. re: al b. darned
          im_nomad May 23, 2009 08:33 PM

          LOL al b. darned *applause*

          Lewes...you need to go back to tattling on the kids in the schoolyard.

        2. cassoulady May 21, 2009 01:49 PM

          Because of cholesteral issues with my parents, I grew up eating margarine, and hated it. I only use butter and olive oil, no pam or sprays either.

          1. Candy May 21, 2009 01:37 PM

            Absolutely not, never. I cannot tell you the last time a stick of that nasty stuff crossed my threshold..

            1. billieboy May 21, 2009 01:06 PM

              I NEVER use margarine. I trust cows more than I trust chemists.

              1. i
                Ima Baconista May 21, 2009 12:28 PM

                We keep a tub of margarine for toast and waffles. I normally use salted stick butter to cook with though.

                1. BobB May 21, 2009 11:13 AM

                  Never! I've been known to send back toast at diners if it's served to me with margarine.

                  1. l
                    lgss May 20, 2009 01:39 PM

                    We're vegan, so we use Earth Balance.

                    1. greygarious May 20, 2009 10:43 AM

                      I used to use unsalted butter for everything, but when minimizing cholesterol became important, I tried Smart Balance and liked it. (My cholesterol has always been under 200 but with metabolic syndrome they want it lower). SB has some milk solids in it; I'd describe the taste as buttery and not as salty as margarine or salted butter. I use SB as a spread and on potatoes, but not for cooking or baking - that's still unsalted butter. Tried the light version of SB and didn't like it - that was too much like margarine.

                      1. m
                        mordacity May 20, 2009 06:19 AM

                        For spreading I use a Land O'Lakes butter/canola oil spread thing, and I will often use half butter, half margarine when making chocolate chip cookies for a softer texture. Otherwise I stick to butter, olive oil and bacon fat. Mmmmm.

                        1. Lewes17266 May 20, 2009 04:49 AM

                          I have recently been buying a Brummel and Brown spread that has yogurt in it. My son heard about it and asked for it. He uses it and I sometimes do too. There is no substitute for butter though.
                          I have been surprised by the many cooks I watch on tv using margarine instead of butter though. They say butter burns so easily but margarine doesn't.

                          1. c
                            ceekskat May 19, 2009 11:19 PM

                            A couple of years ago, I remembered a pretty, delicious strawberry dessert my mom used to make when I was young & asked her for the recipe (originally from a friend of hers). My heart just sank when I read "mix oleo, egg yolks & sugar, spread over crust, layer with berries & whip cream, refrigerate". I *cannot* believe we used to eat this. Obviously everybody survived (mom made it on occasion). I just haven't in good conscience, been able to make this dessert. What do the 'hounds think? Would this recipe have the hounds' blessing if made with butter? Is butter an even substitute?

                            BTW, I don't know how old the recipe is considering the person who gave it to my mom back then was quite a bit older.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: ceekskat
                              Sooeygun May 20, 2009 06:11 AM

                              There are several recipes from my mom that use margarine and I substitute butter no problem. Some of them even say "margarine or butter". Go ahead make it with butter!!

                              1. re: Sooeygun
                                ceekskat May 20, 2009 06:55 AM

                                Thanks, will do!

                              2. re: ceekskat
                                Karl S May 20, 2009 09:14 AM

                                A lot of recipes were created in WW1 and WW2, as well as for pareve kosher use, using margarine. Since margarine combines certain qualities of both butter and shortening, some may find that using margarine is better than either alternative. Oleo's been around a long time, not as a long as butter, but longer than, say heirloom Golden Bantam corn....

                              3. t
                                thinks too much May 19, 2009 09:13 AM

                                "You can use it as hair oil, as gum or as glue,
                                You can polish it up to a gleam.
                                You can use it for greasing your bicycle chain
                                Or for oiling the mowing machine.
                                It cures inflammation, it shifts constipation
                                It's good for the cat or the queen,
                                Such a wonder you're sure will never be found
                                As a pound of this new Margerine"
                                -English folk song post WW II

                                1. n
                                  newfoodie May 19, 2009 08:59 AM

                                  Interesting, seems like this is certainly an issue that people have strong feelings about.

                                  I'm glad I asked! In fact I might try butter more often in my regular use.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: newfoodie
                                    extrasalty May 19, 2009 09:20 AM

                                    No no NO margarine for me, thank you very much. Growing up we always had these scientific-looking margarine tubs on the dining room table and it drove me CRAZY. (Having plastic tubs on the table also drove me crazy aesthetically but that's a subject for another day.) It felt like smearing plastic on your bread. Butter was the forbidden fruit and I now happily wallow in it every damn day. The only health concession I've made recently is to stop keeping butter at room temperature, because that just makes it a little TOO easy to wallow in.

                                    BTW my husband also grew up in a margarine family and once got a wrong answer on a German vocab quiz that asked the word for what happens to butter when it’s left out. He thought butter would dry out, and then had to argue with the teacher that he was culturally disadvantaged.

                                  2. l
                                    laliz May 18, 2009 09:42 AM

                                    I'm another one who grew up on margarine. Even after I knew butter tasted better, I still used margarine for years. After my divorce I went wild and began using butter exclusively and never looked back.

                                    Now, I will go without if butter is not available.

                                    1. RealMenJulienne May 18, 2009 08:32 AM

                                      I grew up eating margarine on toast, so I don't mind it. These days I eat butter on toast, because butter is just a more useful ingredient to have on hand.

                                      1. rockandroller1 May 17, 2009 03:28 PM

                                        Butter, OO, EVOO and Smart Balance are the only oils we use for anything and everything

                                        1. c
                                          Cinnamon May 17, 2009 03:17 PM

                                          No margarine, though I do recall Imperial from childhood.

                                          Real butter only, preferably goat butter, which tastes more like I think regular butter used to before gigantic farming operations.

                                          If I were going to use an olive oil and butter spread, I'd mix the two together myself, for quality control. Also do not use spray oils these days, except real oil from an oil mister. I do occasionally use cold-processed coconut oil where I might otherwise use butter.

                                          1. im_nomad May 17, 2009 01:52 PM

                                            i'm mostly a butter / olive oil / sesame oil girl, but I do have a childhood throwback fondness for Eversweet margarine (used to be made in Nfld, they also made Good Luck margarine), it's yellow and salty and good on toast.

                                            For anyone up for a chuckle, here's a parody on the popular brand:

                                            1. Paula76 May 17, 2009 03:08 AM

                                              I have never used margarine nor have any members of my family. I think I tasted it a couple of times at other's people's houses and thought it was disgusting. We never used butter at home either so all I ever use is olive oil and cooking spray. If it comes to baking, I would usually use yogurt or cream cheese but occasionally (maybe once or twice a year) I might use butter for a cake or dessert if I am cooking for a group of people. Given the overwhelming evidence available today, I am glad I never got into margarine in the first place.

                                              1. g
                                                gfr1111 May 17, 2009 01:37 AM

                                                I am ashamed to say that I converted almost completely to margarine when I was told a lot of nonsense in the 1970s about how margarine was better for you because it had no cholesterol. Then, in what? the late 1990s? a spate of articles came out talking about how awful transfats were for your heart and arteries, much worse than cholesterol. Thanks a lot health experts for 25 plus years of clogging my arteries with margarine, based on bad advice. Now, it's butter, some other animal fats, olive oil and, occasionally vegetable oil, when the foregoing fats won't work. I haven't used margarine ten years or so.

                                                1. p
                                                  paprkutr May 16, 2009 09:01 PM

                                                  I Use Margarine. I keep a kosher house and I need it to cook with for meat dishes. Also if I bake something and use pareve margerine(no dairy products) you cane eat it with anything. I do a lot of baking and people love my cookies and such and I use margarine and no one, has ever complained and they just ask for more.

                                                  1. jbyoga May 16, 2009 08:57 PM

                                                    i like earthbalance - it is a vegan and non-hydrogenated spread. good stuff!

                                                    1. mcsheridan May 16, 2009 07:27 PM

                                                      No, no, and Hell, No. I grew up on margarine, and as soon as I had my own place, switched to butter and never looked back. I may occasionally buy some whipped salted butter, but I use unsalted for everything: cooking, baking, and spreading on breads.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: mcsheridan
                                                        sandramrma May 16, 2009 08:10 PM

                                                        We use "i cannot believe it's not buterr" on every day uses-olive oil on nice bread and butter on holidays1

                                                        1. re: mcsheridan
                                                          mcel215 May 17, 2009 03:22 AM

                                                          Ditto on growing up with margarine........blech.

                                                          1. re: mcel215
                                                            Kinnexa May 19, 2009 10:35 PM

                                                            Not only did I grow up with the stuff, but we called it 'butter' - I think when I finally tasted real butter I was in college. These days I don't use a whole lot of fats, mostly olive oil and spray for cooking, but for toast I do like Fleischmann's olive oil spread. Sparingly. All the other 'healthy spreads' are too watery for my taste.

                                                        2. John Manzo May 16, 2009 06:35 PM

                                                          Yes. I use Becel (this is "Promise" in the US) for spreading on Oldenburger or 90% rye because I observed people doing this at the German breakfast table (not all of them, but some), and I actually find that margarine tastes better as a spread under, say, ham and havarti than does butter. This is the only application I use margarine for but I do prefer it to butter.

                                                          1. Boccone Dolce May 16, 2009 04:43 PM

                                                            Butter, olive oil and on occasion I might buy the tub-spread junk for my husband (he LOVES it) but I can't stand it. I don't bake often but when I do, I use butter- I've tried Crisco and it ended up just..horrific.
                                                            Growing up we had that gold box crap - Imperiel? GAG. I think Mom thought butter would kill us in our sleep. On crazy good occasions we had real butter in the house- can't remember the brand but it had a Reindeer on the package. We called it Reindeer Butter (of course) and would even buy it for Daddy's Xmas stocking! (not to be wrapped and hung during times the fireplace was lit!)

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Boccone Dolce
                                                              Caitlin McGrath May 16, 2009 04:54 PM

                                                              I think you might have had Challenge butter. http://www.challengedairy.com/

                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                Boccone Dolce May 16, 2009 06:11 PM

                                                                Such great memories.....

                                                            2. pikawicca May 16, 2009 04:43 PM

                                                              My main fat is EVOO. At times, I use butter or locally-rendered lard. My father pronounced a ban on margarine in our house many years ago, and I believe that he was right. Man-made fats are the enemy. Margarine, fake eggs, blecch! Big Food interests have done a great job convincing the American people that their crappy products are better than what Mother Nature provides. I don't buy it.

                                                              1. linguafood May 16, 2009 04:21 PM

                                                                When I was a kid, we mostly had margarine in the house. Mind you, Germans put either butter or margarine on sandwiches along with the cold cuts (I don't anymore at all, I'm a mayonnaise kinda gal if anything). My mother had some sort of mysterious traumatizing event involving butter (though my guess is it was a bad dream), so margarine was there to be put on bread. Cooking was pretty much done with vegetable / sunflower oil.

                                                                The only reason I liked margarine as a child was its spreadability. Nowadays it's butter, olive oil, and bacon fat all the way. On bread, I like to use cream cheese or mayo.

                                                                1. DanaB May 16, 2009 03:58 PM

                                                                  No, I only use butter for eating (i.e. on bread, potatoes, etc.) and for some cooking -- eggs, sauteed veggies, etc. I also regularly use olive oil and vegetable oil (sometimes corn, sometimes canola) for cooking dishes that don't go well with EVOO, like asian flavors, and for light salad dressings. Other fats I use include lard and bacon fat for Mexican dishes, and crisco for recipes which call for it. Since I greatly prefer the taste of butter, I've never seen the need to keep margarine around. When I'm cutting back on fat, I'll just use less butter or no butter at all, rather than substitute with margarine. Margarine tastes off to me, kind of chemically, in the same way that bottled salad dressing does.

                                                                  1. m
                                                                    MakingSense May 16, 2009 03:47 PM

                                                                    My mother used margarine until the day she died. Once the health nannies back in the 60s or whenever started bashing butter and saying that everyone was going to drop dead of clogged arteries unless they switched to margarine, Mama followed their advice like the "good girl" that she was, always caring about her health.
                                                                    Once they all saw the light and changed their advice, there was no persuading Mama that the original admonitions had been a bunch of hooey.
                                                                    Daddy hated margarine and finally put his foot down, refusing to eat it, and demanded that there be butter!
                                                                    For 40 years, there were 2 "butter bowls" on that table - His and Hers.

                                                                    I'm with Daddy. I'm still not sure what "margarine" is exactly and don't care. I like butter.

                                                                    1. Kajikit May 16, 2009 03:35 PM

                                                                      I use butter for cooking... and smart balance for spreading on bread just because I hate the way butter tears the bread up, and I don't see why I should pay extra money for butter mixed with vegetable oil just to make it softer!

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Kajikit
                                                                        smartie May 16, 2009 03:44 PM

                                                                        why don't you just leave the butter out in a butterdish? I live in Fl and never put my butter in the fridge.

                                                                        1. re: Kajikit
                                                                          mcsheridan May 16, 2009 07:20 PM

                                                                          Two Words: Butter Keeper.


                                                                          1. re: mcsheridan
                                                                            Kajikit May 18, 2009 09:54 AM

                                                                            Another two words - three cats! If I had a butter dish on the counter I'm sure they'd think it was a snack bar!
                                                                            I've always hated half-melted butter anyway... it gets icky tasting very quickly. DH only wants mayonnaise on his bread so we don't use a lot of margerine.

                                                                            1. re: Kajikit
                                                                              amyzan May 18, 2009 10:14 AM

                                                                              With a butter bell, the butter wouldn't be accesible to the cats. It doesn't contact the air until you remove the butter container from the bell filled with water. This is what keeps it solid, spreadable at room temperature, and fresh. It may not be for you, but it does address your issues.

                                                                              1. re: amyzan
                                                                                bayoucook May 20, 2009 01:50 PM

                                                                                I love the butter bell - live in a hot muggy climate and it keeps my butter at perfect spread temp - and NO margarine in this household!

                                                                        2. h
                                                                          Harters May 16, 2009 03:09 PM

                                                                          It's not too easy to find margarine labelled as such these days. It all seems to be described as "spreads", as the OP suggests, such as Olivio.

                                                                          I use a supermarket "own brand" sunflower spread for, say, sandwiches and some frying, when an olive or sunflower oil doesnt seem right. I hardly use butter outside of baking.

                                                                          1. David A. Goldfarb May 16, 2009 01:12 PM

                                                                            No, I never use margarine.

                                                                            1. t
                                                                              tarteaucitron May 16, 2009 12:06 PM

                                                                              Just curious if there are those who USE margarine but felt a bit embarassed to admit it in this thread?

                                                                              Growing up, I was used to having a mix of both butter and margarine in the household, but shortly post-college, after a brief affair with I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Butter and some butter-flavoured powder seasoning in a shaker can, I seriously swore off margarine and never looked back.

                                                                              Over the years, I could count with one hand the times when I was stuck, usually travelling, when I had to cook with margarine from those single-serve packs, because there was absolutely nothing else. I would sooner cook with the oil from the sardine can.

                                                                              In other words, a big no for me.

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: tarteaucitron
                                                                                Karl S May 16, 2009 12:38 PM

                                                                                Why would I feel embarrassed? I think shame about food is vastly misdirected energy....

                                                                                1. re: Karl S
                                                                                  goodhealthgourmet May 16, 2009 01:12 PM

                                                                                  "I think shame about food is vastly misdirected energy"
                                                                                  i agree, but margarine isn't food ;)

                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                    Karl S May 16, 2009 01:26 PM


                                                                                    1. re: Karl S
                                                                                      goodhealthgourmet May 16, 2009 05:46 PM

                                                                                      i hope you realize my comment was tongue-in-cheek...as indicated by the "wink" that followed it.

                                                                                2. re: tarteaucitron
                                                                                  MakingSense May 16, 2009 12:49 PM

                                                                                  People shouldn't feel embarrassed.
                                                                                  Some people seek out good quality margarine or similar non-dairy, non animal-based products because they want a solid fat but they are vegan, keep kosher, or for similar reasons.
                                                                                  They shouldn't have to justify these decisions or risk getting beaten about the head over them.
                                                                                  After all, they could be appalled at what others use because of their own ethical or religious beliefs.
                                                                                  Different strokes?

                                                                                3. The Professor May 16, 2009 11:13 AM

                                                                                  Margarine is right up there (or down there) on the list with Miracle Whip. Neither are allowed in my house.

                                                                                  For me it's Butter, Olive Oil, Macadamia Oil, Walnut Oil, and various animal fats (especially Pig, Duck, and Goose...all rendered at home except the Goose, which is rendeed by a local Hungarian butcher shop). At least they are all natural.

                                                                                  Going a little easier on the animal fats these days, but in moderation I have no worries.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: The Professor
                                                                                    smartie May 16, 2009 11:29 AM

                                                                                    no marge allowed in my house either (except the Mrs Simpson variety!). Seriously it's disgusting.
                                                                                    Butter or olive oil and occasionally chicken fat from my own cooking which is necessary for home made chopped liver or in with roast potatoes. Corn oil for deep frying.

                                                                                    1. re: The Professor
                                                                                      fern May 16, 2009 11:34 AM

                                                                                      You are fortunate, indeed! :)

                                                                                    2. f
                                                                                      fern May 16, 2009 10:55 AM

                                                                                      I am a butter user all the way but need to consider adding in an alternative for health reasons. I will still use butter and oil in cooking but think I could manage a sub on my peanut butter toast, for example. I have tried Smart Balance but now with 2 mentions of Olivio here, I may need to give that a try.

                                                                                      I love butter. One of the things I really enjoyed about doing a little traveling in Europe was tasting the differences in butters. Never found one a bad one. ;)

                                                                                      1. amyzan May 16, 2009 10:41 AM

                                                                                        In a word, no. In college, before such products were available, I used to make a mixture of butter and olive oil with a little lecithin to keep it combined. Now, it's butter or various expeller pressed oils in this house, and occasionally animal fat for specific foods.

                                                                                        My dad eats Spectrum spread because of his heart, so I have tasted and couldn't say I enjoyed it. The texture is apalling.

                                                                                        1. Karl S May 16, 2009 10:13 AM

                                                                                          I use butter, oil, lard (home rendered), poultry fat (ditto), shortening, and LOL Buttery spread or Olivio. Occasionally suet and coconut oil, for very specific things, and margarine falls into that category. Each has its use that its best for.

                                                                                          1. m
                                                                                            mojoeater May 16, 2009 09:46 AM

                                                                                            No. Real butter and olive oil only.

                                                                                            1. Sooeygun May 16, 2009 09:37 AM

                                                                                              Nope. No margarine here. Has to be butter. If I go somewhere where margarine is the only option (like my parents' house), I skip it. Yuck.

                                                                                              1. s
                                                                                                Sean May 16, 2009 09:27 AM

                                                                                                Butter and olive oil are the fats I use...

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