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2.5 Sticks of Butter

May 14, 2012

You know that three year old kid who steals sticks of butter and eats them under the table?  That kid needs help.

I unwrapped a refrigerated stick of butter, slapped it on a plate and sat down for breakfast.  I held the fork in my hand and gave the butter a long hard stare. It stared right back.  I willed it to disappear.  It didn’t.  I willed it to become appetizing.  It didn’t.  I told myself it was chocolate chip cookie dough sans one or two ingredients.  It didn’t work.

I cut off a bite, gritted my teeth and chomped down.

Butter on pancakes?  Delicious.  Butter on butter?  Gross.

I don’t know what it is, but 11 lbs of carrots?  I’ll give my best shot without thinking twice (until I’m writhing on the floor in pain), a gallon of milk, I’ll try to drink that until I barf with no regrets.  Two and a half sticks of butter, however,  just somehow feels wrong.  I can’t pretend it’s worth it for all the vitamins or calcium I’m getting.  All day I felt like I owed my body, and maybe even my soul, a good old fashioned apology.

Normally in a day I would divide my food up into about 5 parts to stretch it all day.  Not today. Here’s how it went.

Breakfast: Used a fork.  Ate it cold. Fought my gag reflex like a champ.

Lunch: Cut thick slices off a stick, cut those into thirds, swallowed them like fat pills. Only sheer willpower kept me from barfing.  I actually felt like crying.

Dinner: Put it in a bowl, microwaved it, chugged it, and chased it with ice water.  Definitely the best method.

After breakfast I wasn’t full, but the thought of food made me want to ralf.  I taught class and suffered slight queasiness until lunch.  Still no desire for food.

When lunch time rolled around my life went dark.  But like a like little old Frodo I marched through my own personal Mordor  for the greater good.  Instead of a wasteland of volcanoes and evil forces trying to kill me, I faced a stick of cold butter trying to choke me to death, then attacking my arteries like a horde of tiny slimy orcs.  Instead of saving middle earth I was doing real science for this blog.  I think this is a strong metaphor.  Plus, 2 weeks, 2 hobbit references?  I’m on a roll.  Which is where butter is actually good… never mind… Moving on.

After lunch I felt somewhat queasy again.  And I felt regret.  Like I had just betrayed the trust of my body.  I checked in to see how it was doing, and this is what it asked:

There is actually a good answer to this.  Last week I tried rice, which is all about carbohydrates.  Butter is, of course, all fat.  Also, to my knowledge, it is the most calorie dense source of food in the world.  I wanted to see how it would make me feel.

I felt like an idiot.

The good news is whatever you do in life you can always justify it by finding a crazier idiot who did something more extreme and survived.  Like Donald Lerman, who ate 7 sticks of butter in five minutes to set a world record.

To test the performance I went mountain biking with some friends who are in pretty great shape.  It went fine.  I didn’t feel great, but I didn’t feel particularly lacking in energy.  Although every time I was going uphill slowly I blamed the butter.  Who wouldn’t though?  It’s a foolproof excuse.  Try it sometime.


That argument is over.

In other news, the next day I had the runs and pretty badly cramped up guts.

Fulness Factor: I ate the smallest amount of food possible to still get 2,000 calories and I didn’t feel hungry at all.  I find this amazing.

Cost: $2

Taste: Gross

Performance: Mediocre

X Factor: Next time I have toast I can probably just wipe it on my face and it will be buttery enough.


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  1. I feel sick just reading this…

  2. Honey butter would have been better, I think.

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