Oleomargarine. The scourge of dairy natures."
November 1, 2014 10:12 PM   Subscribe

The Appearance of Being Earnest
It’s 1879. The courtroom in Santiago is full. The tables and benches and sidelines hold a defendant, his accomplice, the lawyers for all sides, the justice of the Chilean Supreme Court, and onlookers. The trial had dragged on for two years. The defendant was incarcerated all the while at the nearby Des Hotel Ingles. This autumn afternoon was the end of a very long journey. Up to that point in life, the accused had “engaged the most elegant suite of rooms in the most fashionable hotels,” charming investors with his “large, eloquent eyes.” Having spent the prior decade crisscrossing half the globe from Europe to North America to South America, he was the man papers from the United States to New Zealand called “foremost in the ranks of the world’s swindlers,” the man who they said had “the black heart of a conscienceless scoundrel,” the one the New York Times devoted ten long paragraphs to in his obituary six years later as the “king of swindlers.” He was the Chevalier Alfred Paraf.

The Manufacture of Artificial Butter talks of Paraf's process. Paraf also dabbbled in tin.
posted by the man of twists and turns (6 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

Weird -- I just had a dining experience where two individuals were discussing lard, butter, and margarine. The one guy said that they were removing the lard from butter now; I think he meant trans-fats, though, which are actually in vegetable shortening, technically a lard substitute.
posted by dhartung at 11:11 PM on November 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

There's a nice little cafe/restaurant I like to go to in Indy that exclusively uses margarine in everything they make that traditionally calls for butter. They do this because a good part of their menu caters to vegan clientele, and it's just simpler for the kitchen to use only margarine, plus it eliminates the possibility of that particular vector spoiling the vegan dishes. Their food rocks, btw.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:10 AM on November 2, 2014

Robert Farar Capon, in The Supper of the Lamb: Butter is a food. Margarine is merely a lubricant.
posted by Bruce H. at 6:15 AM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

> the one the New York Times devoted ten long paragraphs to in his obituary

Your "obituary" link goes to the New Zealand Herald, not the NYT; you can see the full page here, where the obit can be seen in its natural surroundings, among stories like "Horrible Double Murder in Fiji," "Trial of French Dynamiters," and "A Romance of London Crime (A Doctor by Day and a Burglar by Night)," not to mention an ad for Boschee's German Syrup.
posted by languagehat at 7:14 AM on November 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

I wonder if this is where this band got their name from?
posted by starscream at 8:41 AM on November 4, 2014

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