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Are you a Butterstinker?

racer x Jun 8, 2012 10:10 AM

A piece ran on NPR recently discussing a novel in which a 19th-century Japanese teenager makes his way to America. The author, Margi Preus, says that one of the Japanese's terms for Westerners was "butter stinker," because Westerners ate a lot of butter and the Japanese thought that that diet made them smell bad.

Very interesting. I had never heard of that term before.

The piece continues:
"Freedom was a foreign feeling to a boy who had grown up in a society where life was so carefully proscribed. 'They had to live in certain kinds of houses,' Preus says. 'They could only eat certain kinds of foods, and even as children they could only play with certain kinds of toys depending upon what their status was in life.'"

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  1. Joanie RE: racer x Jun 8, 2012 11:32 AM

    I hope not but my butter does tend to stink even tho I don't keep much of anything in my fridge besides beverages, condiments, cheese, eggs and a few (non rotting) fruits and vegetables. It's a bummer for when I go to bake or make grilled cheese.

    1. LulusMom RE: racer x Jun 9, 2012 01:18 PM

      When I was a vegetarian I definitely could smell meat on meat-eaters, and it wasn't pleasant.

      2 Replies
      1. re: LulusMom
        suzigirl RE: LulusMom Jun 9, 2012 02:39 PM

        A friend of mine moved here many many years ago and said the same thing - Americans in general stank of meat

        1. re: suzigirl
          LulusMom RE: suzigirl Jun 9, 2012 05:23 PM

          Meat eaters disbelieve this, I've found. And they get really offended. Sorry meat eaters!

      2. i
        Isolda RE: racer x Jun 9, 2012 01:30 PM

        I had heard that, but I thought it had to do with eating dairy products in general. I do notice that people who drink a lot of milk have bad-smelling breath. Maybe some people are more sensitive to the smell than others? I can imagine that in a culture where people don't eat much dairy, a dairy eater would seem stinky.

        My husband used to travel to India for business and he said the first few days, he thought everyone stank (cumin, BO, and fenugreek) but that after a while he got used to it. I imagine the reverse was true as well.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Isolda
          LulusMom RE: Isolda Jun 9, 2012 05:22 PM

          My daughter's school visits a dairy farm every year. Smelling what the cows eat makes me understand 100% why I don't like milk (I do love cheese though) because I think milk tastes of whatever it is they call that absolutely rank smelling stuff.

          My husband's first wife was Indian. I love Indian food. I asked if she ever had a different smell from north Americans and he swears up and down she didn't. Go figure. To me, as much as I love cumin, it definitely has a funky and wonderfully musky smell.

        2. b
          bulavinaka RE: racer x Jun 9, 2012 02:00 PM

          Here's something that may also add to the potential smellability of butter stinkers:


          1. s
            Sparklebright RE: racer x Jul 10, 2012 03:21 AM

            As a kid I was brought up on margarine.
            And wouldn't eat butter because it smelled too "cowey". It reminded me of the smell of the cow barn.

            But now I love the smell and taste of butter, particularly Cultured butter. I can eat cold cultured butter like fudge, no bread needed. I can still identify that "cowey" smell...but I like it now.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Sparklebright
              LulusMom RE: Sparklebright Jul 10, 2012 05:18 AM

              I totally get the "cowey" smell when it comes to milk. All I can smell is that stinky stuff they eat when I take a whiff. For whatever reason, I don't have this problem with butter or cheese.

              1. re: LulusMom
                JuniorBalloon RE: LulusMom Jul 10, 2012 09:22 AM

                What is the stinky stuff cows eat? Is it grass that stinks to you? Or is it a feed lot mix of grains?

                Just curious.


                1. re: JuniorBalloon
                  Sparklebright RE: JuniorBalloon Jul 10, 2012 11:53 AM

                  I'm not the person you are asking Junior but I know properly fermented silage can have a whiff to it.
                  For me the "cowey" smell was more like cow poop. Sorry. Hope nobody is eating lunch.

                  1. re: Sparklebright
                    LulusMom RE: Sparklebright Jul 10, 2012 12:19 PM

                    Silage! That is exactly it. Every year my daughter's class goes to a dairy farm and the smell of that stuff overwhelms me. Really strong, and really bad.

                    1. re: LulusMom
                      JuniorBalloon RE: LulusMom Jul 10, 2012 12:47 PM

                      I live in a valley of cow farms and the only bad smell I ver get is the cow poop. We call it " The smell of money" at least to a farmer. I've never noticed that cow feed smells bad, but I haven't fed any cows in my life either.

                      For the record, I love butter, I love cheese and I love beef, not matter what I smell like. :o)


            2. Duppie RE: racer x Jul 10, 2012 12:28 PM

              When I read the tagline I immediately thought of the smell of Anchor Butter from New Zealand and the almost acrid aroma of my mother's butterflaps baking in the oven.
              I love butter so I guess it's proudly off to the showers

              1. m
                Mightymom68 RE: racer x Jul 15, 2012 09:25 AM

                I'd rather smell a meat eater or butterstinker than a smoker ANY DAY!

                1 Reply
                1. re: Mightymom68
                  bulavinaka RE: Mightymom68 Jul 15, 2012 10:21 AM

                  In reference to this post, the smoking isn't bad in Japan nowadays. Relative to the past, fewer are smoking, and those that do excuse themselves to some "right field" location to smoke. Separate well-ventilated smoking rooms are usually available in airports, train stations, and even cafes and dept stores. What is off-putting from an American's POV, is some restaurants and probably most if not all bars allow smoking in their establishments.

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