Salt 101

If I Won the Lottery, I’d Buy Butter

The question, “What’s the first thing you’d buy if you won the lottery?” is probably one you’ve been asked at least 50 too many times in your life. And, depending on your situation, age, social circle, and the strength of your grip on reality, odds are that the responses you’ve received have been some combination of—fancy car, big castle, expensive shoes, or solid crypto investments.

No shame to the aforementioned…ok, maybe a little shame to some of them. (Who killed your inner child, Brad!?) Those grown up answers do technically sound great on the “Practical to Glamorous Spectrum,” (and sure, a Nata Creme Hermes Kelly with gold hardware may rank in the top 10 things that I would purchase should the opportunity arise), but when asked the ever so cliched question, my true answer is really quite simple.

If I won the lottery. I’d buy butter.

Not an antique butter churner once owned by “So and So Famous Dead Person with Insert Historical Significance Here” or the gold stick of Kerrygold that feels fancy but can be found at any local supermarket. No. If I were to win the lottery, the first thing that I would go to the shop and purchase with my winnings, would be the most expensive, creamiest, best, salted French butter that money can buy. A decadent block of Paysan Breton or Échiré AOP.

Do I currently have the $17 that it costs to purchase said delicacy from the gourmet grocer uptown? Yes. But can I rationalize the 566% price increase over a classic stick that comes in a box of 6 across the street at Trader Joes? Not so much.

Butter is indulgent. It’s creamy and luxurious, and—to the fault of nearly every early 2000s women’s lifestyle magazine—we have come to see it as just a little bit naughty, thus making it sexy in its forbidden nature too.

It would be all too easy to opt for a more obviously glamorous answer to the lottery conundrum—even to find something margarine marginally more exciting in the aisles of a fancy grocery store. I could have said beluga caviar. But I didn’t.

Because you eat petite bites of $600 fish eggs on pretentious crackers to look expensive while drinking champagne past your bedtime, wearing shoes that hurt, and yogic breathing in designer dresses so fitted that you couldn’t possibly stomach eating something more filling than one million dollar morsel, but you eat thick slabs of butter on baguette pulled apart with your hands while you’re sitting around the dinner table with friends drunk on red wine and high on animated conversation.

You eat butter, hunched over the kitchen counter in the middle of the night, pressing it onto radishes with sea salt for “just a little midnight snack,” crunching slowly so as not to wake anyone up.

You eat butter slathered on pancakes and muffins. Corn and mashed potatoes. And sure…if you do want to feel a little extra luxe with your newfound earnings, you baaathe your lunchtime lobster in it.

My unabashed love for butter isn’t to insinuate that I don’t love glitz, glamor, and excess though. Don’t get me wrong. I wear sparkles daily and frequently picture myself a 60s starlet of the silver screen being whisked away to “summer” at Hotel du Cap donning silk headscarves and cat-eyed glasses. I love grandiosity and drama. But see, I love butter because it doesn’t discriminate. Butter has the enviable ability to be both. A true chameleon in the condiment category.

Butter is friends with and adored by everyone. It goes with everything, can be found anywhere, and most things would feel incomplete without it. The fanciest and flavored sorts can mix and mingle with the highest of high society, but the basic baking stick is still charming and irreplaceable in its sincerity. It’s a simple pleasure. It can never really be bad. And spread thick enough for teeth marks, it will always taste like a luxury.

So, yes, if I win the lottery, you will find me in the refrigerated aisle.