Is margarine always evil?
I have been trying to cut a few corners in my family's cooking due to some unfortunate employment issues. I have been trying to replace some butter in baking with margarine. So far the results have been quite good - texture and flavor changes not detected by my family. However, when I went to the store, I found that some margarines are as expensive as store brand butter. Are there really differences between the name brands of margarine? They all say "good for baking".
You'il find some articles on the Internet that claim margarine is only one molecule away from butter. Others will tell you that margarine is one molecule away from plastic. I won't go into all that BS except to tell you that margarine has been around for o\nearly 150 years and there are many natural things in the world that are one molecule away from something else and there's no commonality between them. So, if you hear that rumor, smile and go on your way.
Basically, butter comes from animal fats, margarine comes from hydrogenated vegetable oils. I used margarine in place of butter for all kinds of cooking for over forty years; it works just fine. Butter offers better flavor (although there are margarines that have flavoring added to make up that difference) but even when I used the margarine that came in sealed plastic bags with that little orange packet that you had to break and knead into the white hydrogenated oil base, margarine worked just fine for all varieties of cooking needs. Because margarine has very little if any detectable flavor, other than flavorings added in manufacture, they typically neither add nor detract from your prepared foods.
may be all you ever need to know about the butter/margarine controversy.
Just be sure you read the entire article - don't stop with the first few paragraphs.
The only ones truly 'good for baking' are the ones that have the same fat content as butter (11%). The real problem with margarine (side from the trans fats in many of them) is that they just taste lousy (if they have any taste at all).
I didn't know margarine was evil in the first place. I guess that means the answer to your question is, "No.".
Is margarine always evil? Yes, the flavor and texture and nutrition are inferior.
That being said if you are searching for a budget alternative than fluid oils are cheaper and plenty of recipes from budget-conscious times use them.
Which versions are more expensive?
When I was a kid, we used blocks of Parkay margarine for baking - they came in a box, with individually wrapped half-cup portions inside, with a fairly firm texture straight from the fridge. I remember these being cheaper by weight than margarine that was intended more for table use (ie, the plastic tubs with margarine that was spreadable even at room temperature).