Sunday Morning Trivia..

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Although I can’t testify to exactly how old I was the first time I was asked to ponder the (age old) Question; … 

the chicken or the egg 1

”Which came first, ..the chicken or the egg?” 

I can testify accurately concerning the first time I decided to ponder the question; …

Which came first, ..butter or the butterfly?

butterflies this morning 2a

fresh creamery butter 1

 (Fresh creamery butter).

Butter is a dairy product made by churning fresh or fermented cream or milk. It is generally used as a spread and a condiment, as well as in cooking, such as baking, sauce making, and pan frying. Butter consists of butterfat, milk proteins and water. 

milking cows 1a

Most frequently made from cows’ milk, butter can also be manufactured from the milk of other mammals, including sheep, goats, buffalo, and yaks. Salt, flavorings and preservatives are sometimes added to butter.

Rendering butter produces clarified butter or ghee, which is almost entirely butterfat.

Butter is a water-in-oil emulsion resulting from an inversion of the cream, an oil-in-water emulsion; the milk proteins are the emulsifiers. Butter remains a solid when refrigerated, but softens to a spreadable consistency at room temperature, and melts to a thin liquid consistency at 32–35 °C (90–95 °F).

(The density of butter is 911 g/L (56.9 lb/ft3).

It generally has a pale yellow color, but varies from deep yellow to nearly white. Its unmodified color is dependent on the animals’ feed and is commonly manipulated with food colorings in the commercial manufacturing process, most commonly annatto or carotene.

Etymology…

The word butter derives (via Germanic languages) from the Latin butyrum, which is the latinisation of the Greek βούτυρον (bouturon).

This may have been a construction meaning “cow-cheese”, from βοῦς (bous), “ox, cow” + τυρός (turos), “cheese”, but perhaps this is a false etymology of a Scythian word.

Nevertheless, the earliest attested form of the second stem, turos (“cheese”), is the Mycenaean Greek tu-ro, written in Linear B syllabic script. The root word persists in the name butyric acid, a compound found in rancid butter and dairy products such as Parmesan cheese.

In general use, the term “butter” refers to the spread dairy product when unqualified by other descriptors. The word commonly is used to describe puréed vegetable or seed & nut products such as peanut butter and almond butter. It is often applied to spread fruit products such as apple butter.

Fats such as cocoa butter and shea butter that remain solid at room temperature are also known as “butters”.

In addition to the act of applying butter being called “to butter”, non-dairy items that have a dairy butter consistency may use “butter’ to call that consistency to mind, including food items such as maple butter and witch’s butter and nonfood items such as baby bottom butter, hyena butter, and rock butter.

History…

 goats 1

The earliest butter would have been from sheep or goat’s milk; cattle are not thought to have been domesticated for another thousand years.

An ancient method of butter making, still used today in parts of Africa and the Near East, involves a goat skin half filled with milk, and inflated with air before being sealed. The skin is then hung with ropes on a tripod of sticks, and rocked until the movement leads to the formation of butter.

In the Mediterranean climate, unclarified butter spoils quickly unlike cheese, it is not a practical method of preserving the nutrients of milk. The ancient Greeks and Romans seemed to have considered butter a food fit more for the northern barbarians.

A play by the Greek comic poet Anaxandrides refers to Thracians as boutyrophagoi, “butter-eaters”.

In Natural History, Pliny the Elder calls butter “the most delicate of food among barbarous nations”, and goes on to describe its medicinal properties.

Later, the physician Galen also described butter as a medicinal agent only.

Historian and linguist Andrew Dalby says most references to butter in ancient Near Eastern texts should more correctly be translated as ghee. Ghee is mentioned in the Periplus of the ErythraeanSea as a typical trade article around the first century CE Arabian Sea, and Roman geographer Strabo describes it as a commodity of Arabia and Sudan.

In India, ghee has been a symbol of purity and an offering to the gods, especially Agni, the Hindu god of fire for more than 3000 years; references to ghee’s sacred nature appear numerous times in the Rigveda, circa 1500–1200 BCE.

The tale of the child Krishna stealing butter remains a popular children’s story in India today. Since India’s prehistory, ghee has been both a staple food and used for ceremonial purposes, such as fueling holy lamps and funeral pyres.

Middle Ages…

The cooler climates of northern Europe allowed butter to be stored for a longer period before it spoiled. Scandinavia has the oldest tradition in Europe of butter export trade, dating at least to the 12th century. After the fall of Rome and through much of the Middle Ages, butter was a common food across most of Europe, but one with a low reputation, and was consumed principally by peasants.

Butter slowly became more accepted by the upper class, notably when the early 16th century Roman Catholic Church allowed its consumption during Lent.

bread and butter 1a

Bread and butter became common fare among the middle class, and the English, in particular, gained a reputation for their liberal use of melted butter as a sauce with meat and vegetables.

ancient butter lamps 2

In antiquity, butter was used for fuel in lamps as a substitute for oil. The Butter Tower of Rouen Cathedral was erected in the early 16th century when Archbishop Georges d’Amboise authorized the burning of butter instead of oil, which was scarce at the time, during Lent.

Across northern Europe, butter was sometimes treated in a manner unheard-of today: it was packed into barrels (firkins) and buried in peat bogs, perhaps for years.

Such “bog butter” would develop a strong flavor as it aged, but remain edible, in large part because of the unique cool, airless, antiseptic and acidic environment of a peat bog.

Firkins of such buried butter are a common archaeological find in Ireland; the IrishNationalMuseum has some containing “a grayish cheese-like substance, partially hardened, not much like butter, and quite free from putrefaction.” The practice was most common in Ireland in the 11th –14th centuries; it ended entirely before the 19th century.

Industrialization…

 butter churn 2

Like Ireland, France became well known for its butter, particularly in Normandy and Brittany. By the 1860s, butter had become so in demand in France that Emperor Napoleon III offered prize money for an inexpensive substitute to supplement France’s inadequate butter supplies.

A French chemist claimed the prize with the invention of margarine in 1869. The first margarine was beef tallow flavored with milk and worked like butter; vegetable margarine followed after the development of hydrogenated oils around 1900.

Gustaf 1a

(Gustaf de Laval)

Gustaf de Laval’s centrifugal cream separator sped the butter-making process. Until the 19th century, the vast majority of butter was made by hand, on farms.

The first butter factories appeared in the United States in the early 1860s, after the successful introduction of cheese factories a decade earlier.

In the late 1870s, the centrifugal cream separator was introduced, marketed most successfully by Swedish engineer Carl Gustaf Patrik de Laval.

This dramatically sped up the butter-making process by eliminating the slow step of letting cream naturally rise to the top of milk. Initially, whole milk was shipped to the butter factories, and the cream separation took place there. Soon, though, cream-separation technology became small and inexpensive enough to introduce an additional efficiency: the separation was accomplished on the farm, and the cream alone shipped to the factory.

By 1900, more than half the butter produced in the United States was factory made; Europe followed suit shortly after.

In 1920, Otto Hunziker authored The Butter Industry, Prepared for Factory, School and Laboratory, a well-known text in the industry that enjoyed at least three editions (1920, 1927, 1940).

As part of the efforts of the American Dairy Science Association, Professor Hunziker and others published articles regarding: causes of tallowiness (an odor defect, distinct from rancidity, a taste defect); mottles (an aesthetic issue related to uneven color); introduced salts; the impact of creamery metals and liquids; and acidity measurement.

These and other ADSA publications helped standardize practices internationally.

Butter also served as a source of extra income for farm families. Wood presses featuring intricate decoration were used to press the butter into pucks or small bricks to be sold at a nearby market or general store with the decoration identifying the farm which produced the butter. This continued until production was mechanized and butter was produced in less decorative stick form.

Today butter presses continue to be used for decorative purposes. Per capita butter consumption declined in most western nations during the 20th century, in large part because of the rising popularity of margarine, which is less expensive and, until recent years, was perceived as being healthier. In the United States, margarine consumption overtook butter during the 1950s, and it is still the case today that more margarine than butter is eaten in the U.S. and the EU.

Worldwide…

 butter machine 1

In 1997, India produced 1,470,000 metric tons (1,620,000 short tons) of butter, most of which was consumed domestically.

Second in production was the United States (522,000 t or 575,000 short tons), followed by France (466,000 t or 514,000 short tons), Germany (442,000 t or 487,000 short tons), and New Zealand (307,000 t or 338,000 short tons).

France ranks first in per capita butter consumption with 8 kg per capita per year. In terms of absolute consumption, Germany was second after India, using 578,000 metric tons (637,000 short tons) of butter in 1997, followed by France (528,000 t or 582,000 short tons), Russia (514,000 t or 567,000 short tons), and the United States (505,000 t or 557,000 short tons).

New Zealand, Australia, and the Ukraine are among the few nations that export a significant percentage of the butter they produce.

Different varieties are found around the world. Smen is a spiced Moroccan clarified butter, buried in the ground and aged for months or years.

Yak butter is a speciality in Tibet; tsampa, barley flour mixed with yak butter, is a staple food. Butter tea is consumed in the Himalayan regions of Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal and India. It consists of tea served with intensely flavored—or “rancid”—yak butter and salt.

In African and Asian developing nations, butter is traditionally made from sour milk rather than cream. It can take several hours of churning to produce workable butter grains from fermented milk.

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The butterfly..

butterflies 6

A butterfly is a mainly day-flying insect of the order Lepidoptera, which includes the butterflies and moths. Like other holometabolous insects, the butterfly’s life cycle consists of four parts: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Most species are diurnal. 

Monarch_In_May (2)

Butterflies have large, often brightly coloured wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight. Butterflies comprise the true butterflies (superfamily Papilionoidea), the skippers (superfamily Hesperioidea) and the moth-butterflies (superfamily Hedyloidea).

All the many other families within the Lepidoptera are referred to as moths. The earliest known butterfly fossils date to the mid Eocene epoch, between 40–50 million years ago.

Butterflies exhibit polymorphism, mimicry and aposematism. Some, like the Monarch, will migrate over long distances. Some butterflies have evolved symbiotic and parasitic relationships with social insects such as ants. Some species are pests because in their larval stages they can damage domestic crops or trees; however, some species are agents of pollination of some plants, and caterpillars of a few butterflies (e.g., Harvesters) eat harmful insects. Culturally, butterflies are a popular motif in the visual and literary arts.

Etymology…

The name is derived from Middle English buterflie, butturflye, boterflye, from Old English butorflēoge, buttorflēoge, buterflēoge, perhaps a compound of butor (beater), mutation of bēatan (to beat), and flēoge (fly).

Alternate etymology connects the first element to butere (butter) as the name may have originally been applied solely to butterflies of a yellowish or butter-colour. This may have merged later with the belief that butterflies ate milk and butter (compare Middle High German molkendiep -literally “milk-thief”; Modern German Molkendieb and Low German Botterlicker – literally “butter-licker”), or that they excreted a butter-like substance (compare Middle Dutch boterschijte – literally “butter-shitter”, also Middle Dutch botervliege, Dutch botervlieg, German butterfliege).

Habits…

Butterflies feed primarily on nectar from flowers. Some also derive nourishment from pollen, tree sap, rotting fruit, dung, decaying flesh, and dissolved minerals in wet sand or dirt. Butterflies are important as pollinators for some species of plants although in general they do not carry as much pollen load as bees. They are however capable of moving pollen over greater distances. Flower constancy has been observed for at least one species of butterfly.

As adults, butterflies consume only liquids which are ingested by means of their proboscis. They sip water from damp patches for hydration and feed on nectar from flowers, from which they obtain sugars for energy as well as sodium and other minerals vital for reproduction. Several species of butterflies need more sodium than that provided by nectar and are attracted by sodium in salt; they sometimes land on people, attracted by the salt in human sweat.

Some butterflies also visit dung, rotting fruit or carcasses to obtain minerals and nutrients. In many species, this mud-puddling behaviour is restricted to the males, and studies have suggested that the nutrients collected may be provided as a nuptial gift along with the spermatophore, during mating.

Butterflies use their antennae to sense the air for wind and scents. The antennae come in various shapes and colours; the hesperids have a pointed angle or hook to the antennae, while most other families show knobbed antennae.

The antennae are richly covered with sensory organs known as sensillae. A butterfly’s sense of taste, 200 times stronger than humans, is coordinated by chemoreceptors on the tarsi, or feet, which work only on contact, and are used to determine whether an egg-laying insect’s offspring will be able to feed on a leaf before eggs are laid on it.

Many butterflies use chemical signals, pheromones, and specialized scent scales (androconia) and other structures (coremata or “hair pencils” in the Danaidae) are developed in some species.

Vision is well developed in butterflies and most species are sensitive to the ultraviolet spectrum. Many species show sexual dimorphism in the patterns of UV reflective patches. Color vision may be widespread but has been demonstrated in only a few species.

Some butterflies have organs of hearing and some species are also known to make stridulatory and clicking sounds.

Many butterflies, such as the Monarch butterfly, are migratory and capable of long distance flights. They migrate during the day and use the sun to orient themselves. They also perceive polarized light and use it for orientation when the sun is hidden.

Many species of butterfly maintain territories and actively chase other species or individuals that may stray into them. Some species will bask or perch on chosen perches. The flight styles of butterflies are often characteristic and some species have courtship flight displays. Basking is an activity which is more common in the cooler hours of the morning. Many species will orient themselves to gather heat from the sun. Some species have evolved dark wingbases to help in gathering more heat and this is especially evident in alpine forms.

Migration…

Many butterflies migrate over long distances. Particularly famous migrations are those of the Monarch butterfly from Mexico to northern USA and southern Canada, a distance of about 4000 to 4800 km (2500–3000 miles).

 painted Lady butterfly 1a

(The Painted Lady)

Other well known migratory species include the Painted Lady and several of the Danaine butterflies. Spectacular and large scale migrations associated with the Monsoons are seen in peninsular India.

Migrations have been studied in more recent times using wing tags and also using stable hydrogen isotopes.

Butterflies have been shown to navigate using time compensated sun compasses. They can see polarized light and therefore orient even in cloudy conditions.

The polarized light in the region close to the ultraviolet spectrum is suggested to be particularly important. It is suggested that most migratory butterflies are those that belong to semi-arid areas where breeding seasons are short.

The life-histories of their host plants also influence the strategies of the butterflies.

Defense…

Butterflies are threatened in their early stages by parasitoids and in all stages by predators, diseases and environmental factors. They protect themselves by a variety of means.

Chemical defenses are widespread and are mostly based on chemicals of plant origin.

In many cases the plants themselves evolved these toxic substances as protection against herbivores. Butterflies have evolved mechanisms to sequester these plant toxins and use them instead in their own defense.

These defense mechanisms are effective only if they are also well advertised and this has led to the evolution of bright colours in unpalatable butterflies.

This signal may be mimicked by other butterflies. These mimetic forms are usually restricted to the females. 

speckled_wood

Eyespots on wings of Speckled Wood, Pararge aegeria, appear to distract predators from attacking the head. The left hind wing has been badly damaged by birds, but the insect is alive and able to fly.

Cryptic coloration is found in many butterflies. Some like the oakleaf butterfly are remarkable imitations of leaves.

As caterpillars, many defend themselves by freezing and appearing like sticks or branches. Some papilionid caterpillars resemble bird dropping in their early instars. Some caterpillars have hairs and bristly structures that provide protection while others are gregarious and form dense aggregations. Some species also form associations with ants and gain their protection

Behavioural defenses include perching and wing positions to avoid being conspicuous. Some female Nymphalid butterflies are known to guard their eggs from parasitoid wasps.

Eyespots and tails are found in many lycaenid butterflies. It is thought that their function is to divert the attention of predators from the more vital head region.

An alternative theory is that these cause ambush predators such as spiders to approach from the wrong end and allow for early visual detection.

A butterfly’s hind wings are thought to allow them to take swift, tight turns to evade predators. (Source Wikipedia).

The world might still be confused about which came first when it comes to the chicken and the egg? However from this day forward those of you who read my blather today can confidently replied to anyone who may ask?

Butterflies came before Butter !

Have a great day, I’ll be back tomorrow

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Crusader Rabbit…

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