Nigella Lawson’s ‘two stage’ toast buttering process is extremely controversial

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As if we don’t have enough to argue about these days, Gourmet Goddess Nigella Lawson took her butter knife and divided a country in two: Team Toast with a Spot of Butter and Team Butter with a Spot of Toast. What Nigella unleashed on the world the other day was her Two stage approach to buttering. Observe:

As a person who’s suffered from genetically high cholesterol her whole life, watching someone put this much butter on anything is like watching pr0n so I say yes! more, Nigella – always more. For those unable to play this short video, Nigella suggests putting a spread of butter on as soon as the toast comes out of the toaster. Anyone who’s ever forgotten to take the butter of the fridge ahead of time would agree because it’s the only way to spread it. Nigella contends it makes for a “fabulous crumpet bite.” Nigella’s toast in the video is already pre-buttered so we take her at her word. Then she proceeds to stage two, the second layer. This is where she hauls off a slab of butter the size of which I have only ever fantasized about and spreads it, leaving behind, “some golden patches” that remain on the surface. She creates a relief map of butter on the toast’s surface, making a point of saying it’s unsalted buttered because that is her preferred butter, then grabs sea salt and sprinkles it on top. It’s a work of art by the time she’s done with it. I wouldn’t eat it, but I’d watch her prepare it a hundred times.

Naturally the UK Food world has upended itself over the controversial video.

Lawson probably did not expect the uproar that would ensue from her highly controversial method, though perhaps she should have — the UK is, after all, a country that loses its collective marbles when a high street chain launches a vegan sausage roll.

“Nigella shows the nation how to butter toast … 5 minutes I will never get back,” one angry viewer wrote on Twitter.

“Nigella is the only person on the planet who can have me hanging on her every word as she tells me how to butter toast,” a more sympathetic commentator said.

Tabloids including the Mail Online and The Sun breathlessly reported on the mirth of some of Lawson’s audience, while The Telegraph added fuel to the fire by submitting the strategy to a number of accomplished chefs — none of whom backed the double-butter approach.

But Lawson found support in other corners of the internet. “I think it reasonable to say only Nigella could get away with teaching us how to make toast,” The Times columnist Alex Massie surmised.

“What have you started @Nigella_Lawson,” asked BBC radio presenter Zoe Ball, who dedicated a segment of her Wednesday morning show to allow listeners to debate the issue.

[From CNN]

So we’re going to have to do this – one or two stage approach to buttering toast, folks? Personally, I’m going to be difficult and say it dependson the toast. I could see going back for a second swipe on a nice piece of toasted rye or sourdough. But a slice of artisan white or rustic potato, like it looks like Nigella is eating, could sag under that kind of creamy weight. Were this a roll or baguette the discussion would be over – butter in one hand, bread in the other and just alternate bites (I kid!) The salt on top is interesting. I’ll admit I was reticent but I haven’t tried it so I won’t reject it outright. All I know is I have not stopped thinking about toast since I watched this video. I’m wondering if I will have to double up on my statins tonight if I try Nigella’s technique.

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54 Responses to “Nigella Lawson’s ‘two stage’ toast buttering process is extremely controversial”

  1. Mei says:

    I agree it definitely depends on the bread. It would taste amazing but holy arteries, I can feel them clogging just thinking about it ahaha.

    She also made waves a few weeks ago talking about using banana skins in curry – I’ve not tried it yet but I’m intrigued since she said it can be mistaken for aubergine if you don’t know it’s banana skin.

    • TeamAwesome says:

      Nadia, the winner of Great British Bake Off a few years back, did a whole Instagram series of make do/ use everything cooking during UK lockdown 1.0 and using banana peel as kind of a shredded pork substitute was something she said she grew up with and showed how to do.

      • Mei says:

        Yes I heard about that! Nadia is amazing, I haven’t seen her instagram series though, sounds super useful. I love that she’s becoming kinda like the new-age Mary Berry.

    • Juniper says:

      Oh, that’s interesting! I’m allergic to eggplant/aubergine so I may look into using banana peels.

  2. Esmom says:

    Ah, this is the content I needed this morning, lol. While I prefer to retain more of the bread’s flavor and texture when I enjoy toast, I still enjoy seeing her take on it.

    *Scurries off to make some toast for breakfast*

  3. MsDiMeanOur says:

    i was just thinking back to my old place of work
    next door was a portuguese old style coffee shop
    they made their own pasteis de nata

    anyways, i always got toast every other morning
    huge slice of artisan flour or rustic sourdough
    it always came with a side of butter
    and it was toasted with butter

    so it was butter with toast…

    sad to say that it did contribute to significant weight gain
    however I have no regrets on the taste.. LOL.

  4. Lightpurple says:

    People don’t do it this way?

  5. Roberta says:

    I would love to be able to watch the video, because this sounds INSANE to me — and I’m speaking as a French bread-lover, a worshipper of baguettes and sourbread and bagels and everything in between, born and raised in Brittany (Bretagne) where butter is one of our few local specialties and we are known to pick fights over whether salted or unsalted is better (salted, obviously, is the argument made by any person from Brittany or Normandy). I have never, ever seen any French person double-butter their bread.

    • Roberta says:

      P.S. The only thing that makes sense to me is sprinkling sea salt on top of unsalted butter. We don’t do it like this in Brittany because we can get heavenly salted butter and why the fuss, but I used to do that when I lived in Paris and Aix and unsalted butter was the only thing most places would serve.

    • Reece says:

      Because I needed more reason to want to go to France other than food in general.
      Thanks Roberta! lol

    • Venus says:

      I bought some half-salted butter from Brittany in Paris a couple of years ago and it was DELICIOUS. My husband was both amused and horrified to see how much butter I could consume.

  6. Harla says:

    Butter must be generously spread over the entire piece of toast, in to each corner and every nook and crevice. This is the hill I am prepared to die on.

  7. L84Tea says:

    I don’t care how people butter their toast. I’m just here to say that I adore Nigella to the moon and back. She is my #1 wish for an autobiography.

  8. Scarlett says:

    That is exactly the method I use and have used for butter on toast, all my life. It’s how my mom did it, and I do the same. I feel validated now, usually people just assume I am a butter fiend, which I am…but thanks Nigella, I’m just a butter on toast connoisseur now, thanks to your method haha.

  9. Lily P says:

    my dad always used to wait until his toast was cold before spreading the butter, absolute heathen.

  10. grabbyhands says:

    We stan a buttery goddess in this house and the best toast is a lusciously buttery toast.

    I have long adored Nigella Lawson’s cooking and approach to food so I’m on her corner on this.

  11. Katie says:

    both seem fine, I’d eat this at a restaurant but I’ve only made this at home a handful of times, I don’t know why, it’s tasty but I guess gets old fast

  12. manda says:

    It’s funny, one person complained about watching the video and that being five minutes they won’t get back…. the video is 45 seconds! Yum I love butter, too, so I am all in with all the butter. It’s weird to me that this caused any controversy; if you don’t want that much butter, then don’t put that much on! It’s like gay marriage, no one is forcing anything on anyone

    also, this seems to be how the toast from places like IHOP or Bob Evans is buttered, because that stuff is always so buttery (and good). just a theory

  13. Rachel says:

    I’ve had toast like this for years! Nothing wrong with butter at all. There is more rubbish in the artificial spreads and cheap bread. I suppose its something other than Corona for a change in the news 😁

  14. Natchan says:

    Controversial opinion: I’ve never liked butter, I usually just spread jam on my toast. Maybe it’s because I was raised by a Japanese mother, but we never used butter that much growing up, so watching someone slather on a ton of butter is a bit gross to me.

  15. Ann says:

    For some reason this sounds like just way too much butter but I really love a thick layer of chilled butter on good untoasted bread so who am I? Controversial or not I’m pretty much behind any recommendations from the Goddess. I love Nigella!

  16. dawnchild says:

    The only wrong way is unbuttered toast…it’s a high offence.
    Love butter, but my addiction is Earth Balance on toast…it’s crack for me!
    Note: the Earth B stuff cannot be melted on a griddle and bread toasted on it…for some reason, it releases a chemical smell…ugh. Butter is the go to there. But olive oil can do that trick beautifully too. In general, EVOO on a toasted piece of good bread is fabulous too

  17. jferber says:

    Hell, I’d rather have watched her butter toast than watch the past four years of a trump dictatorship. I love her!

  18. Snowslow says:

    I think she just made this to prove that we can watch and listen to her on any subject – she could even read the phone book. And she’s right. Although I hate butter I could re-watch this over and over again. She’s a delight (but not the heavily buttered toast yuck).

    • Lady D says:

      You are the only person I know other than me who hates the taste of butter. I do without rather than use it. I don’t even like the smell of it cooking.

  19. Nicole says:

    I love butter! My brother, a chef, says that at home people don’t use far enough butter or salt in their food :)

    Edited to add: He’s a chef, not a nutritionist :D

  20. koko says:

    And now I want toast….

  21. Amber says:

    I adore Nigella. Her recipes are genuinely easy to follow and produce great results and I love that she is not precious or moralizing about food. There is too much butter on that toast, but butter is important! I bake quite a lot using Nordic recipes and most Swedish cake recipes I make call for 2 1/4 sticks of butter, melted. Which is a lot of butter. But that’s why it tastes good!

  22. bitchyarchitect says:

    I just came here to say
    1. I could watch this video over and over again because Nigella is a goddess.
    2. I could watch this video over and over again because I love butter but also have genetic high cholesterol which i can barely keep at bay through RIGOROUS dieting and I so wish I could eat butter like this.
    3. If I could, I wold totally eat my toast this way, provided the bread was the right bread.
    4. There is nothing more comforting and delicious than buttered toast and the fact that Nigella realizes this is what makes her a genius.

  23. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Only Nigella could turn the globe on its backside over buttered toast. I always have at the very least three different butters in the fridge. Olive oil butter. Real butter (European, grass fed, etc), hopefully some clarified butter and some with omegas. It all depends on the bread of course and it gets left out before use for softening. If the bread makes it to the table without butta, it runs the risk of application after every bite (bad bad bad Mabs). If baking, I slather or pour or dip then cook. Toast gets a generous slather before toasting or frying because I like the crusty bits to be more hearty lol.

  24. CountdowntoNY says:

    I don’t have dairy of any type, not even pure fats like butter (don’t like the smell and rather like cows). I have transfat-free vegan spread (Nuttelex) and always load it up on the toast. What’s the point of going easy on the vegan butter if you’re having (vegan) butter in the first place? But I don’t have it every day. I also like almond butter with streaks of strawberry jam on top of the almond butter.

  25. Cassie says:

    Omg bread and butter is possibly the greatest combo and I love how much butter she put on her tiny piece of toast. Do chefs just have insane metabolisms or something? I could not eat like that more than once a week

  26. JanetDR says:

    When I was a child my favorite was the local Monk’s bread white and I would spread butter on both sides, then nibble off the bottom and sides and then carefully split it into 2 perfect pieces. I am doing gluten free most of the time now and when I lapse, it’s for toast!

  27. Lana says:

    For anyone vegan or lactose intolerant.. Miyokos butter changed my life. Tastes identical and is plantbased. I butter everything. Especially avocado toast or PBJ. I can’t stand unbuttered bread!!

  28. Rose says:

    Stayed at a California health center staffed by MDs, naturopaths and chiros, where a strict vegan diet was served. The docs told us that eating butter stimulated the same part of the brain that was triggered by opiates…and that butter was just as addicting as opiates. I believe it, because butter is sooo delicious. I was able to switch to Miyoko’s butter, thank goddess! My family has a history of heart disease and high cholesterol, so bye-bye butter!

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