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Food Swindle, or Absolute Genius? The Margarine Story

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Imagine Napoleon III invites you to a fancy dinner: It’s this huge feast with all kinds of stately people—the kind of thing you’d wear a gown to.

Now imagine what’s being served: Mountains of French cheeses, soup courses, many filets of many kinds of meats, so many things en croute. It’s all very grand.

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You’d probably assume there’d be butter too. Because, France. Except there’s not. At this high society French feast, they’re eating margarine.

This is not what they were eating.
This is not what they were eating. Photo by James Ransom

On today's episode of Burnt Toast, we speak with food writer and historian Bee Wilson to follow the curious, contentious history of margarine back to its first invention. Turns out, we have Napoleon to thank.

Download the episode here—or stream it above. And hit "subscribe" to get each new episode downloaded to your phone automatically.

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