Mom's Old Butter Churn

Mom's old churn...

We were cleaning out a corner on mom's back porch when we first noticed an old item I remember seeing my mother use when I was just a child. “What is that thing,” my daughter asked? I just chuckled a little as I pulled it out from under the old cloths where it had been stored for who knows how long. I took my daughter by the hand and said, “let's sit down here for a moment and I'll tell you all about it.” I knew my young daughter had never seen one before and probably never even heard of an old butter churn. I realized that this was going to be a ‘teachable moment’ and I wanted to get my story straight. It was just the churn itself that we uncovered, the ‘dasher’ and lid had probably been discarded long ago and I didn’t see any of the other accessories that might help in my explanation to the curious mind of my suddenly most inquisitive offspring.

Did you ever eat real butter?

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"got butter..."
"got butter..."

"Butter is better..."

“You know that butter that we like to spread on our bread and mashed potatoes,” I began. “Well mamaw used to use this to make our butter when I was your age,” I told her. I could only imagine the multitude of questions that must be springing up in my daughter’s mind as she listened most intently to my explanation of how butter came from cow’s milk back in the ‘old days’. I told her that mom used to set aside the cream that she poured off our milk and kept it in a separate jar in the refrigerator, just so she could make our butter when I was growing up. She knew just how much was needed to have on hand before she started another batch in that old churn and I remember watching her as she sat in that old cane chair churning that buttermilk into butter.

butter mold
butter mold

Is she really getting this...

It crossed my mind as I was explaining with much detail and in answer to her simple question," how did she do that," that she might not be able to retain a detailed explanation at her young age. It's always been a question I guess as to how much a child really remembers about what they are told. And I guess I remembered just how hard it was for my parents to get something through to me as a child. I guess we talked for 20 to 30 minutes while looking at that old churn and I guess I was scraping the very edges of my mind for more information and an assurance that she was at least grasping some of what I was telling her about the art of butter making and the hardships that our grandparents sometimes faced.

Mamaw's old churn...

My class on how our grandparents put butter on the table years ago was cut short rather abruptly when my daughter heard one of her playmates calling out her name. “Gota go now dad," she said as the screen door closed behind her and she ran off to play with her friend. You know, I hadn't thought too much about that day until the other night I received a phone call from my daughter in North Carolina. It seems one of my grandsons had written a paper on life in early America and how the womenfolk made butter by churning it by hand. She said he had made an ‘A’ on his paper and she then ask, “Do you remember telling me about mamaw’s old churn"…

© 2012 SamSonS

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Comments 11 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

Great hub about your mom's old butter churn. The video is wonderful and educational. I'll just bet that people will be testing this out for themselves. Great teaching aid to show children what butter really is and where it originates. Thanks! Voting this up, interesting and useful and will share with my followers and FB.

Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 5 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

making butter in a churn is maybe the one task I miss the least. It was so tiring a task.

Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 5 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

Good hub Sampsons. Mom churned and my grandmothers did also but in later years an electric churn was purchased.The electric motor though a nice convenience could never take the place of the meomories sitting by an old wood cook stove and the labor and music of the art of churning butter.

Emma Larkins profile image

Emma Larkins 5 years ago from Manchester, MD

Butter tastes so much better when it's handmade!

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 5 years ago from Tennessee Author

Thanks so much Peggy for your kindness in responding. I too thought that video was 'something else', he made it look easy and it is today I guess. I just remember seeing my mom wipe the sweat from her brow as she labored in love for the family. I appreciate the ratings and your sharing this with others...

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 5 years ago from Tennessee Author

Hey Dave, yes, those were the days. I remember asking just once if I could help- that's all it took. Not much chance of 'getting it wrong' when all there is to do is move that dasher up and down...

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 5 years ago from Tennessee Author

thanks so much for the visit and the nice comment cookingrecipes. Also appreciate the 'thumbs up'...

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 5 years ago from Tennessee Author

Thanks so much Fiddleman. I must say I got the notion from one of your hubs the other day. Seems like I can still hear the sound of that old dasher hitting the bottom of that churn and hearing my mother say, "Come, butter come" I didn't know if she was singing or praying; probably a little of both don't you think...

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 5 years ago from Tennessee Author

Thanks so much Emma Larkins for your visit and your nice comments...

DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

I enjoy the taste of butter but never had homemade, such an interesting hub

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 3 years ago from Tennessee Author

Thank you so much DDE for spending time and reading my hubs. Yes, times were hard for homemakers before the introduction of more modern conveniences and mothers had a big responsibility providing all the needs of a growing family. I wouldn't have missed it for the world...

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