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The same calories, not the same nutritional value, though.

The house is pretty much free of high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, and preservatives except for the occasional package of Twizzlers or Sour Patch Kids that makes their way in every so often. (When we host game night we let our guests bring whatever they want and even supply the junk food, too.) There is one last barrier, however. One hold out that I haven’t been able to get out: Mrs. Butterworth’s.

A little background: Sundays, especially from September until April, are for family breakfasts. My husband makes pancakes. Really good pancakes, actually. And every Sunday, as we break out the organic maple syrup my husband breaks out the Butterworth’s. It is far from healthy. Here are the ingredients, taken directly from the bottle:

High fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, water, sale, cellulose gum, molasses, natural and artificial flavor (lactic acid), sodium hexametaphosphate, preservatives (potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate), caramel color, citric acid

Reading this list of ingredients it makes me wonder how they can even sell it as food. It’s not food. It’s chemicals in a plastic bottle. I have discussed this with my husband. He loves the taste, he says, and he’s not willing to give it up. Then last month I saw that Trader Joe’s had a new organic maple agave syrup blend. My husband does not like straight maple syrup, but maybe this, which is a little sweeter, might tempt him? I bought it. The ingredient list:

Evaporated cane juice, pure maple syrup, agave syrup

Nutritionally, it’s really six of one, half a dozen of the other. Sort of. Both are around 200 calories for a 1/4 of a cup. Both are high in carbs — 52 to 53 grams per serving. Both are high in sugar. The agave blend has a LOT less salt, though — 5 mg as compared to 150 mgs — and it’s organic. And it doesn’t have any preservatives, so there’s that. Oh, and the fact that you can actually find all three of its ingredients in nature. And just as important: It’s got a ton of nutrients in it, too such as manganese, zinc, riboflavin, calcium, and potassium. It also contains 54 antioxidants, according to one recent study. Another study says that pure maple syrup contributes to liver function. Seriously. Makes sense, though. Berries and nuts come from trees and plants. Maple syrup is the sap of a tree. Why wouldn’t it have antioxidants, right?

But I digress as always. We’ve already established that he isn’t going to eat maple syrup. I kept my fingers crossed that he would like the agave/maple blend. When I got it home — surprise, suprise — my husband  said he would taste it. I sat there staring as he pour some over his breakfast plate and took his first bite. It didn’t suck, he said. (I think it helped that we were also out of the Butterworth’s and he had a steaming pile of French toast sitting there waiting to be eaten.) He put the second bite into his mouth, chewed, and made a proclamation: “It’s not so bad…” That’s pretty high praise from my husband, the self-named super-taster.

Since then he’s eaten it a few more times. Unfortunately, he did go out and buy another bottle of Butterworth’s, though. Some habits won’t die, I guess. Am I sad? Yes and no. I’d much prefer he ate real maple syrup that we buy for the house, but I am not hopeful. I know that I can tell my husband why pure maple is good until I am blue in the face, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to try it or like it. Still, I’m going to keep pushing the good stuff and keep my fingers crossed. In the meantime, I have decided that if he wants the fake stuff, he’s going to have to buy it himself. And I’ll keep the agave blend on hand, too, and keep pushing the real maple syrup. You never know, right?

One Response to “Mrs. Butterworth’s: My Husband’s Last Stand”

  1. Peter Eicher says:

    Funny! I was the same way for the longest time. I much preferred fake syrup to the real thing. But once you stick to real syrup and get used to the difference, the fake stuff starts to taste…. well, fake. And gooey and unpleasant. It’s like training your taste buds to pick up on the more subtle pleasures of maple syrup rather than the giant sugar-bomb of Mrs. Butterworth’s.

    So a nice pad of organic, grass-fed butter on top (healthy!) followed by maple syrup, and you have a winner.

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