Burnt Toast Podcast

Food Swindle, or Absolute Genius? The Margarine Story

July 27, 2017

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.

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. 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.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Kenzi Wilbur

Written by: Kenzi Wilbur

I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.