Having soft butter at the ready to spread on toast became a rarity when people started refrigerating butter. But butter can be kept fresh without refrigeration. The French have used a pottery crock for hundreds of years to keep the butter soft and fresh. My mother first introduced me to the Butter Bell, and I've been using it for years. Here are a few simple tips for using it that will enhance your experience:
1. The butter needs to be soft when you put it in. Surface tension keeps the butter in the upside-down bell, and the butter needs to be pressed completely to the base of the bell.
2. Use just enough water (3/8") to reach the base of the bell. And change the water every three days.
3. Wash the bell between sticks of butter, don't just refill it (mom!)
A wide range of styles of the "original" Butter Bell®, are available for $17.95-24.95 at butterbell.com or through the Amazon.com Marketplace; the "generic" Norpro Butter Keeper (pictured) is $7.90 from Amazon.com.
P.S.S. The Best Coffee Maker is back in stock at Amazon.com