I will begin this rant by stating that I’m feeling sick and extra crabby today, so if you don’t like what I have to say, you can go suck my big toe I understand completely and your opinion is totally valid.
Butter is better than Devil’s Spread margarine for an infinite number of reasons, but I will attempt to organize my diatribe around the following uber-reasons:
MATERIAL/PRODUCTION – Butter, even the worst, cheapest, most awful kind you can find, is made of only two things - cream and salt. No, unsalted butter is not butter; it’s a disgusting glop of udder-lard that is only (barely) rendered fit for human consumption by adding salt to it after the fact. Salted butter is a creamy ambrosia that makes human life worth living. Keep that straight. It’s made by putting the cream and salt in a bucket, which you stir with a wooden spoon for a while to help the salt dissolve. Then you stir it harder, making the little tiny microscopic bits of butterfat in the cream slam together and stick to each other, which snowballs until you have a lump of butter floating in actual buttermilk. Butter making is so simple, kids can make it at home with no special tools.
On the flip side, margarine, even the best, most expensive, most healthful kind you can find, is made of 43 different petro-chemicals* that have been scientifically proven* to turn your guts into neon-colored goo*.
*Not really, so far as I know.
The only ingredients you or I would recognize out of hand are oil and water. Which, we would also recognize out of hand, don’t mix under normal circumstances. Terrifyingly, there is nothing at all normal about margarine making. Industrial machines combine the oil, water, and unpronounceable emulsifying ingredients in sealed, pressurized tanks. Then soft, squishy “spread” oozes out like the worst rendition of soft-serve ice cream ever. Don’t believe me? Try melting a little margarine in a pan on the stove – you’ll see the water and oil components separate out almost immediately. Ew.
As much as I hate margarine, though, don’t ever repeat the idiotic email-based phrase, “Margarine is only one molecule away from plastic!” Lots of things are, because that’s a completely useless measure of similarity. Ribeye steak is also one molecule away from cheese – that doesn’t mean you can melt some shredded beef in a little white wine and turn it into fondue. Saying so just makes you sound like a goober.
FLAVOR – Butter acts a lot like salt; when it’s done right, it makes whatever you put it on taste more like itself. It also helps things fry up nice and tasty, as the sugars in the milk solids caramelize. Yes, I said caramelize, as in caramel, as in ZOMG OM NOM NOM. It tastes like a soothing Swedish massage for your tongue while you’re relaxing in a Jacuzzi.
Margarine, the few times I’ve been forced into consuming it, tastes like the culinary equivalent of the syphilitic cesspool at your nearest pay-by-the-hour motel.
USAGE – Knowledge of butter-making was gifted to us by a loving and generous God nearly 10,000 years ago. It can be used in pretty much everything, from food to skin/hair conditioning, from preventing kidney stones/eye infections to ritualistic use in religious ceremonies.
I've heard it repeatedly claimed that margarine was originally intended to fatten up turkeys, but when it started killing them, the inventors decided to repackage it for humans instead. In reality, that’s not even remotely true.
It was invented in 1869 when Napoleon III (the Waterloo guy’s nephew) ran a nation-wide contest looking for a cheap butter-substitute for the army. I swear, the French should have just kept him in exile. Instead, they brilliantly elected him president – from which position he initiated a coup d’etat and made himself Emperor of Fake-Butter Crap.
DID I MENTION THE FLAVOR?!
Spray butter is awesome, though. Really. Because it's just salty butter-flavored water, and is, in fact, much more buttery-tasting on things like corn on the cob or plain white rice than real butter. Now, if there's a food-chemist out there who really loves me, please please please invent artificial-butter-flavored butter*.
What? Sometimes butter isn't oomphy enough - that's not my fault.
*We could call it Butter3. We should package it in pyramids though, just to be difficult.