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The East Coast and West Coast have differently sized and shaped sticks of butter


You've heard of the classic coastal feuds - the LA Kings versus the New York Rangers; Biggie versus Tupac. But there is also butter versus butter. And, no, it is not about salted versus unsalted. It is about size - the size of a stick of butter. Now, East Coast butter tends to be lean and long; West Coast butter short and stubby. Here's a confession - we here at WEEKEND EDITION were absolutely clueless about this dairy difference. We've been a little busy, and, hey, what's the size and shape of your butter stick? - has not exactly come up in our editorial zooms. But then last week, one of us read a deep dive by HuffPost prompted by a stray tweet. It had this ad about something called the Butter Hub Butter Dish, which proclaimed that this device, quote, "holds West and East Coast butter."

Why are there two sizes? Well, for one, packaging machines first developed when the Midwest dominated the dairy industry - produced those long and lean sticks that are familiar in the East. And then came the 1960s, when California's dairy industry started giving the Midwest some competition. New machines were built. They produced shorter, fatter sticks of butter, and that became the norm for markets west of the Dakotas and Oklahoma.

Now, of course, East Coast or West Coast or somewhere in between, if you buy butter in a standard one-pound carton, you're getting the same amount, whatever shape the sticks are. But if you've got a West Coast butter dish at home with East Coast butter, you're going to have a little hangover. And if that bothers you, if this is a problem that has long offended your eye or if you're just thrilled to have an easy solution to something in these very trying times, rest assured. You can now upgrade your butter dish game with one of these smarter butter dishes and show it off at your next Zoom. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Juana Summers
Juana Summers is a co-host of NPR's All Things Considered, alongside Ailsa Chang, Ari Shapiro and Mary Louise Kelly. She joined All Things Considered in June 2022.