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History of a Butter Mold, North Carolina

As told by Lilly Johnson
Catawba County, North Carolina

Story Narrative:

So what's the big deal about butter? Lilly Johnson explores an unassuming little butter mold, part of the collection of the Historical Association of Catawba County. Family and friends melt with joy at the thought of yummy, homemade food, recalling how butter was made locally and each unique stamp that butter molds lent.

Lilly Johnson: This butter mold was patented on March 18, 1890 to Perley Kimball of Bellows Falls, Vermont. The patent was assigned to Vermont Farm Machine Company who sold this butter mold. The butter mold was created to make butter more preservable to get it from more rural areas to more urban areas.

Doris Guice: [0:28] We made our own butter. We didn't know people who had any. And we couldn't go buy any butter, you know, unless some, another person was making butter, will maybe sell you some butter, but I don't remember ever being anything like that. You just made your own.

Penny Sandrock: [0:48] It makes wonderful baked goods. It really adds something to most things that you eat. And I can't imagine a world without butter.

Bo Teague: [1:04] There was a dairy farm close to us and they made their own butter. They also had a creamery, where they made their ice cream and they made butter, and I remember when they used to put the butter into the butter molds and they would have special stamps to go on it. A lot of the dairies used to sell to the different stores would stamp their butter with a different stamp for their dairy. And so when you bought the butter, they had their stamp on it. So that was pretty fascinating.

Penny Sandrock: [1:37] For vegetables, especially corn on the cob, all your breads, all your breakfast foods like waffles and such, that type of thing. And when I bake my cakes and pies and things like that, you have to have butter.

Bo Teague: [1:55] We bought a lot of butter. But also, I remember that my grandmother made butter, and so we had some home-made butter and bought butter. Thing that my grandma used to tell me about butter, and it was about a butter churn. She used to have a little room that she said, she said what's big at the bottom and little at the top? Something in the middle goes flippity-flop. And that was the churn, whenever she was churning to make butter.

Penny Sandrock: [2:23] I was probably about 12 maybe. I had, my mama's working, and I had two friends come over and we found a cake mix. So we made a cake. And we used my mother's last stick of butter in the refrigerator. And I was so proud of this cake, and when my mom got home from work and my friends were still there, and I said, look it, look it. And she said, she got so mad cause she needed that last stick of butter for something else. Now it's funny, but then I was really embarrassed. You know, but who knew? It was a good cake!

Bo Teague: [3:02] My favorite thing about butter is everything. I just love butter on everything.

Asset ID: 2018.03
Themes: Work, history, museums, objects, food, baking
Date recorded: 2018
Length of recording: 3:16 m
Related traveling exhibition: The Way We Worked
Sponsor or affiliated organization: Historical Association of Catawba County, North Carolina; Newton-Conover Middle School
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