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Does anyone out there still use margarine?

Are there any recipes you make that call for margarine with no adequate substitute? Or has everyone cut margarine out of their lives completely?

Sarah is Food52's senior staff writer & stylist.

asked about 1 year ago
33 answers 1619 views
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amysarah

amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added about 1 year ago

I've never used margarine in my cooking, but I think it still has a place in kosher cooking (for 'meat' meals.) Modern kosher cooks of course also use olive oil, vegetable, canola oil, etc., but I think it's still used somewhat. (Dating myself, but when I was a kid it was considered a healthier alternative to butter - back then, trans was an airline, not a fat.)

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added about 1 year ago

i used to make a blueberry kuchen for coworkers every once in a while. one of them was allergic to milk and products so i would use margarine so she could eat it. otherwise, it is plain old unsalted butter for me, but i mostly try to use olive oil wherever possible, even on corn on the cog.

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Niknud

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added about 1 year ago

I don't. Not from any sense of snobbery or anything, just don't particularly find it good for much that butter or oil can't do. Have fond memories of the tub of margarine in my gram's fridge though.....

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added about 1 year ago

My aged 87 mother had the job of kneading in the coloring when her mother bought (oleo) margarine during the 40s. She still calls it Oleo. While neither of us use it, it's still a great memory.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 1 year ago

@arcane54 So funny you should say that. I'm visiting my 87 year old mom and she JUST told me it was her job to stir the color into the oleo back in the day. She tasted it once and never ate it again, but she enjoyed the color stirring.

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ChefJune

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added about 1 year ago

I come from an era when it seemed everyone used margarine. Back then we thought it was healthier than butter. I'm a complete convert. If I'm avoiding animal fat for some reason, I use olive or another monounsaturated oil. But my preference runs to butter (artisanal or imported), or animal fats such as lard, duck, chicken or goose fat. No margarine. No thanks.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 1 year ago

Absolutely not. Gonzo. I can't imagine a recipe calling for margarine where butter couldn't be a substitute. I do know food banks give margarine to low income folks. It's inexpensive and lasts a very long time.

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added about 1 year ago

Am I the only person here who has fond memories and misses margarine, even though I converted to butter years ago? My mom still uses it in baking sometimes, and I will buy it on rare occasion to make rhubarb buns or kolaches the way that I remember my Aunt Marie making them, in my opinion, it just doesn't taste quite the same when I've made them with butter.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 1 year ago

I get it. My mom used it long long ago, but my very healthy lifeguard dad had a heart attack. His very savvy heart doc said "dump the margarine and slather your toast with avocados and cottage cheese". He was ahead of his time. My aunt Margaret used margarine for her pie crusts. I remember the flavor. I'm that way with imitation vanilla. I don't buy it, but when I find it being used, I'm secretly happy. AND..I still love American cheese on my burgers. True confessions.

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amysarah

amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added about 1 year ago

I think it's like many tastes of childhood - if it's what you remember, it can have an appeal and comfort. For instance, Campbell's tomato soup and grilled cheese with American cheese on white bread - as much as I love fresh tomato soup (in fact, I make it often) and a panini with a more interesting cheese, it's not the same as the iconic one of childhood memory. Once in a while, you want those flavors that remind you of your mom, or your aunt, or whatever - and nothing else is quite right. I guess margarine could fall into that zone too.

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added about 1 year ago

My mother's Christmas sugar cookie recipe calls for margarine, and she swears is not the same when she's tried to make the cookies with real butter. I don't think I've ever experienced them made with real butter, but the margarine cookies are really delicious (unfortunately).

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added about 1 year ago

Occasionally- my father likes it. I've found that a crumb crust made with margarine won't stick to a pan- at least a pyrex pan- that's been buttered. Doesn't work the other way around; no idea why.

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added about 1 year ago

Not I! Never did, never will. I remember reading an article in, I think, Vanity Fair, in the 1960s that laid out the reasons why margarine was NG. Ahead of its time, but butter-lover that I have always been, I decided to heed that advice. So happy I did! I once had a tub of margarine (why, I'm not sure) that got left in the back of my fridge for a really long time. The contents had turned to a substance that looked and felt like plastic. It was seriously awful and downright scary.

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added about 1 year ago

Margarine is still popular in Kosher baking because it is pareve. However, I think that due to the popularity of coconut- and other derived fats, that will soon change. However, many Jewish people are reluctant to tinker with their bubbie's perfect hamentash or rugelach, it is to be seen what will happen there.

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added about 1 year ago

Under two conditions: when I bake for my GF, dairy-free friend; and when my daughter had to go iodine-free prior to her thyroid cancer treatment (dairy products were a no-no as they contain iodine). Otherwise, it's butter, or a flavorful olive oil. I've become frustrated with coconut oil as it's either like a rock straight from the fridge, or it's liquid...and it doesn't blend well in either state. Ugh.

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creamtea

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added about 1 year ago

Yes, I do use it for kosher purposes when baking. Sometimes coconut oil is suitable, sometimes other oils, but for certain pareve baked goods like cookies, where oils won't work, I'll use Earth Balance.

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Kristen W.

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added about 1 year ago

OK, I'll admit that while I never use margarine for cooking or baking (unless doing so for vegan friends), I still like Earth Balance on toast for breakfast. It's a habit, and my palate is used to it. But I wouldn't kick butter outta bed for eating crackers, either, if that's what's around when I'm eating toast..

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boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 1 year ago

No.

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HalfPint

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added about 1 year ago

If it's a baking recipe and it calls for margarine, then I will use margarine. I'm not a baking expert so I don't mess around with recipes for baked goods. Other than that, I use butter because no margarine (that I know of) can compete with the flavor of butter.

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HalfPint

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added about 1 year ago

But I do have fond childhood memories of Wonder Bread slathered with margarine.

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added about 1 year ago

No, I do not use margarine, but back in the 50's, 60's and even 70's my dad used margarine for baking some of his items for the hotel guests. He would tell us to go get the "the Brand X" out of the walk-in refrigerator.

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added about 1 year ago

Aren't Earth Balance and all the other "Vegan Butters"just margarine?

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added about 1 year ago

Technically, no. Best I can remember, the major difference is they don't contain partially hydrogenated oils.

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added about 1 year ago

Never, ever touched the stuff. Thought it was plastic. Been cooking since age 10 (for more decades than I want to admit) and have been using butter the whole time.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added about 1 year ago

My aged 87 mother had the job of kneading in the coloring when her mother bought (oleo) margarine during the 40s. She still calls it Oleo. While neither of us use it, it's still a great memory.

695013bb 6175 44d4 9967 d3fa0ab27033  stringio
added about 1 year ago

It still pops up in crossword puzzles as Oleo regularly.

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added about 1 year ago

I have a few vegan clients for whom I use what we call "vegan butter" (Smart Beat type margarine)in recipes that call for solid fat. I have not found coconut fat to be a good substitute in these few recipes. Additionally, I too do not fool with my Nana's recipes that call for oleo (Fleishmans!)- have tried both butter and coconut fats, they just do not taste the same to me, although people who have not tasted the wonders of my late grandmother's baking might find the products just fine.

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Sam1148

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added about 1 year ago

Only for picnic type things. Like doing a low country boil outdoors and having a squeeze bottle of parkey for the corn and potatoes. You see it a lot at covered dish dinners as it's a bit more manageable for crowds. And frankly those events I rather like the nostalgia of squeeze bottle margarine.

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added about 1 year ago

Now if crisco had butter flavor and was yellow - would it be margarine?

Also I remember eating margarine & white suagr sandwiches on wonder bread at a friedns house when I was a kid- complete opposite of the Branola Bread with Breakstones butter & honey that would be the equivalent at my house.

One of my grandmothers used margarine when she baked for the Hadassah ladies so it would be kosher.

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added about 1 year ago

I use it when I make some types of cookies (1/2 margarine, 1/2 butter). That way I get the great taste of butter but the margarine helps with a chewier texture and less spread on the pan. I learned this trick for getting soft snickerdoodles when I took home-ec in middle school!

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AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 1 year ago

Nancy W, this is a great idea. Thank you.
(Also, it's nice to see you putting that home-ec class to good use!) Cheers. ;o)

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added about 1 year ago

as many others have said, my mom! she still only buys margarine and refuses to buy butter. as soon as I moved out I have converted to butter and remain a butter convert! the bright yellow coloring of margarine still kind of throws me off..