Goatview Farm - The Saint Report

www.goatview.com

July 15
Margarine
Part I

On July 15, 1869, Hippolyte Mege-Mouriez of Provence, France, patented his butter substitute developed for use by the French navy. He named this substance "margarine" since he had used the fatty acid component, margaric acid. Margaric acid looked like pearly drops so its discoverer had named it after the Greek margarites, meaning pearl.

The French were responsible for margarine? The same people who like perfect pate so much that they are willing to force feed geese for months just to get the ideal enlarged liver? The fussiest eaters on the face of the earth? That was a fact that needed to be double-checked if I ever saw one. And that is how I found "Margarine on the Web,"

http://www.margarine.org

the official site of the National Association of Margarine Manufacturers.

Sure enough, the genesis of margarine was in France. And that was only the beginning of "Margarine on the Web's" "History of Margarine" timeline, much of which deals with margarine's ongoing battle in the United States for acceptance against those dastardly tyrants, the "dairy militants." May they homogenize in hell.

It seems that by 1877 margarine was spreading into the butter market and the dairy industry responded by introducing protective legislation in various states. From merely clear product identification laws, margarine was subjected to extra taxation and finally a prohibition on the sale of margarine colored to resemble butter...in other words, no yellow margarine.

Those dairy extremists even had the audacity to attempt legislation that would have forced margarine manufacturers to dye their product pink. This would have made margarine even less appetizing than you might imagine. Today's consumer may not be aware of the fact that pink milk is milk from a cow with mastitis, but yesterday's consumer would have known that. The market for pink margarine would have been as small as the market for "E Coli-Free Ground Beef" or "Worm-Free Blueberries."

A Federal Margarine Act in 1902 put prohibitive taxes on colored margarine, while leaving the white stuff alone, but all this did, according to "Margarine on the Web," was increase the demand for "bootleg colored margarine."

So I must leave you with images of margarine stills, margarine smugglers, and prisons full of margarine miscreants.

Tomorrow: How many sticks of margarine would it take to reach the moon? and the lifting of the margarine "color barrier."

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Saints celebrating feast days today include Bonaventure, Vladamir (patron of Russia), and Swithin (invoked for or against rain).

Today is St. Swithin's Day in England. The poem goes:

"St. Swithin's Day, if thou dost rain,
For 40 days it will remain;
St. Swithin's Day, if thou be fair,
For 40 days will rain nea mair."

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Birthdays: Linda Ronstadt (1946, Tucson), Inigo Jones (1573), Rembrandt van Rijn (1606), and Thomas Bulfinch (1796).

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On July 15, 1922, the New York zoo proudly displayed, for the first time in the United States, a duck-billed platypus.

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Billy the Kid was shot and killed by Pat Garrett on this day in 1881.

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Marilyn Jones 1998-2008