Bread and Butter

What is the meaning of the idiom bread and butter?

Obviously tough, bread and butter mean simply normal bread and normal butter, maybe with added salt for extravagance. But in fact, in the 1700s it referred to one’s basic needs and since the 1800s the phrase got attached the meaning of one’s income or livelihood. Generally, it can also mean something everyday or ordinary. To illustrate my ordinary and everyday bread and butter, here’s a photo literally about my bread and butter:

What’s your bread and butter?

That’s gonna be basically what allows you to buy actual bread and butter it well, for your body’s nourishment. Okay, we know it could be avocado or fish, not necessarily the actual glutenous thing with the hardened milk cream. But that’s how this idiom works!

While your job is your bread and butter, you might have a real passion, that not many people know about, or something that you hope to grow into your new bread and butter…

When you thought, you’ve heard everything; nah, there’s more. A less commonly well-known usage of this idiom is a so-called bread-and-butter letter, which is a letter sent (or given) from guests to a host, thanking for hospitality.

How do you eat bread and butter?

If it happens that you have the actual things for breakfast in front of your grandmother-in-law, you might wish to have read the “Bread and Butter Etiquette”. Because as everyone knows and everyone forgets: it’s usually the little things that that count. To appear as a pleasant companion at the table, keep in mind these simple rules:

As with all food at the table, also breadbaskets are always passed to the right. If you happen to be the host of the dining, you should first offer the breadbasket to the person on your direct left (otherwise he or she has to wait a long time until the basket goes all around the table).

Depending on the size of your group, there could or should be more than one basket on the table. Even if there is a yummy selection, take only one roll at a time (you don’t want to look greedy). Some hosts place a roll on everyone’s bread plate (the small one on the table setting, to the left of your dinner plate) before the start, in that case, be happy with that. Of course, you can take a second bread roll later, the rule of manners is to have only one at a time.

The butter is passed around the same way when it reaches you, place one pat on your bread plate. Sometimes butter comes in a pre-portioned foil pack, if that happens, remove the foil, and place it folded to the side of your bread plate.

Though at home you probably butter an entire roll all at once, it is in fact against the “Bread and Butter Etiquette”. Never do so in public, if you need to leave a good impression! While eating bread, only break off a small piece, and butter it one bite at a time, holding it with your fingers and using a butter knife (lying prepared on your bread plate). It is also allowed to dip the Bread in gravy or soup. Needless to say, that it should be done carefully and without making a mess. Bon Appétit!

Why is bread and butter so good?

Bread and butter taste so good because it’s sugar and starches. Or speaking in a more scientific language: it’s saturated fat with glycemic carbohydrate. What’s more important, is the effect of this combination on our primate brain: it makes you high. Or speaking in a more scientific language: The combination has neurochemical effects, that work rather like opiates, not clearly distinguishable from addictive, illegal drugs. And it obviously doesn’t start just at the brain, but at the pleasure of eating it: at the taste-buds and the mouth-feel.

The funny thing is, that anyone can eat a piece of bread or a spoonful of butter by themselves, but is never as amazed as from the combination of Bread and Butter. But, that might be simply by the fact, that, probably there isn’t anything that does NOT taste good with butter!

James Beard said,

“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods, and good bread with fresh butter the greatest of feasts.”

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