I eat butter like it’s cheese. Growing up, I forked butter pats off the restaurant’s bread plate as if they were after-dinner mints. Even now, I spread half-inch slabs around a bagel, letting it melt nicely before adding additional hunks of cream cheese for an excellent bed of dairy.
Sadly, on my 30th wedding anniversary, all that changed. I was rushed to the hospital to have my gallbladder removed. It was also the night that the first pass of my memoir, Barry Sonnenfeld, Call Your Mother (out March 10 from Hachette, if you’re looking for the perfect Purim/Easter gift) was sent to my editor. My mother, dead though she be, was making it clear that she did not want this book published. Even from the grave, she was trying to kill me.
If you’re not familiar with the function of a gallbladder (I wasn’t), it stores the bile produced by your liver. When you don’t have one and you eat fatty foods, you lack the concentrated bile necessary to digest said foods. And there is almost nothing fattier than butter.
Although I still wanted to stay alive — at least long enough for the publication of my book — I was not willing to give up the perfection of salted butter altogether. My solution was the Max Space Butter Mill Dispenser.
My butter gun stays in the fridge, a full stick constantly loaded, waiting to spread a thin ribbon of high-butterfat dairy onto bread, potatoes, and, up until the first turn of its handle, healthy oatmeal. Before it melts — which is a nearly immediate process that is immensely superior to the traditional bread-destroying knife-with-butter application — it looks like a piece of art. A fancy decoration worthy of the great bar-mitzvah palace of my youth, Leonards of Great Neck, whose slogan was, “The Warmth of Israel. The décor of Las Vegas.”
I know it sounds like I’m still using a lot of butter. Like I’m tormenting my body. I probably am. But I’m using so much less. The Max Space Butter Mill Dispenser has probably reduced my butter consumption by 80 percent. It’s reduced the effort I put into spreading butter by nearly 100. It’s the perfect replacement for a traditional butter dish. Or a gallbladder.