Friday, September 16, 2011

The margarine wars


#34 in an occasional series of repressed 70's memories that turn out to be true. 

Why buy the cow when butter can be made in the lab?

Margarine was not new in the 1970s, but brand loyalty to commodities like milk, meat, fruit juice, and “spreads” was.  And clever advertising was definitely at its peak.

Enter the margarine gimmicks, presented here for your diversion.  Spread yourself a big Premium ® Saltine thick with it and enjoy.

Flavor:  Imperial was “fit for a King.”  Packed in the gold foil box,imperial its flavor made a crown appear on your head on the first bite.  This was a delight because your Libber of a wife couldn’t cook anything properly, and you needed processed food to choke it down.  Sadly, the crown never fit properly. 

Camouflage:  It is not at all nice to fool mother chiffonnature.  If she had wanted you to eat vegetable oil, she would have churned it for you.  More to the point, she wasn’t so annoyed that you were eating it, as she was that you had made her do so.

Parka-a-a-y would also fool you.  No, Parkay would taunt you.  In an eraparkay when your kitchen was cluttered with spokes-characters commenting on your cooking, this little gaslighting bastard was bipolar before bipolar was cool.  Shortly after this scene, Mel told Parkay to Stow It.

Consistency:  Soft, soft, soft.  A generation into refrigeration, we had become obsessed with chilled food, but dosh-garn blue bonnetit, you can’t spread cold butter!  It’s not really butter’s fault; we had engineered bread so soft you could roll it into a ball.


Healthy:  0% Cholesterol.  The link between heart attack and cholesterol was put forth in the 1970s when it was discovered that Eskimos had no fleishmansword for it.  A sure-sell technique was to put out there that your product had no cholesterol.  It was the Gluten-free of its day.  And of course vegetable oil has no cholesterol. Our love affair with corn byproduct was born.   This is Fleishmann’s – by the logic of this ad, a perfect substitute for Italian food.

I have to throw this commercial in, though it clearly pre-dates the 1970s – Mrs R had left us by 1962 – but this was such a bizarre find I have to share.  WHO left someone name a food “Good Luck.”  “Well… here’s some kind of spread.  Good Luck.”


  1. Love it! Thanks for the blast from the past!

  2. And I am old enough to remember bursting the orange bubble in the otherwise colorless margarine, kneading the package so it was mostly all the same color before putting it into the 'fridge for later!! Perhaps that is why I prefer butter: it is the same calorie and fat count as margarine but ever so much better tasting!! M.

  3. Growing up we always had Fleishmann’s. i think it came in gold foil. My grandparents were more into Imperial. Both were so unnatural-tasting. My household is strictly butter. Margarine's not allowed in my home.


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