Among the many things we've learned in the American home kitchen since my childhood (vegetables mostly shouldn't be cooked until they're decimated, pasta should get a minute in its sauce with a little pasta water before serving, raspberry vinaigrette on uncooked spinach is gross) is that butter should really be kept outside of the fridge. It's fine! You won't die! Everyone and their mom has a butter crock now and we're just generally doing things a little better when it comes to fat-spreadability.
But here's the thing: I live alone and cook for one person. And, I don't eat nearly as much butter spread on toast as I'd like to. (Which is to say I'd like to eat it every day, twice a day, and I probably eat it—on average—once every two weeks.) This means I can't really justify keeping my butter out on the counter. The fridge will keep it better. When, though, I do have a too-rare butter and toast or butter and pancake moment, I'm plagued by cold, un-spreadable butter. You can find me with the unhappy look of a person on an infomercial, wrestling to try to get a thick slab of butter to melt and spread on my sourdough. That is, you could, until I found this cool little knife.
The Ginkgo Japanese Butter Knife is a small piece of stainless steel, made in Japan. The metal is bent at a little more than a 90-degree angle—you hold on to one arm, while the other skims off the butter and spreads it on a piece of toast. The Ginkgo knife makes it possible to cut into even the coldest butter and spread it in a thin, instantly-melting layer because it has a series of small perforations along its sharp, scalloped edge—a bit like an overgrown version of an old-fashioned citrus zester. You slide the scalloped edge along the top of a stick of butter, inviting up these gloriously odd thin little coils of dairy product. They're like tiny, spreadable butter-pasta strands. They glide across the surface, melting immediately as if you'd used room temperature butter.
The angled knife also makes spreading easier, somehow. And, if you prefer non-coils, the other surface of the knife offers a simple, sharp edge, with perforations running along the entire side, making it easy to shave off long, thin strands of butter that, again, instantly melt into toast.
Maybe you're thinking that this sounds like a single-use object that you don't really need. That's probably true, technically. And yet, I'd argue that for the occasional butter consumer, it's even more necessary, since you're more likely to store your butter—too cold!—in the fridge. What's more? It's very small. I find this both pleasing to the eye and convenient for storage purposes. In the end, here's what I'll say: It's a core tenet of my belief system that we should all be entitled to the best butter experience possible. And that begins with the Japanese butter knife.
Originally Appeared on Epicurious