17 August 2008

Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson cast in butter

I think perhaps one has to be from the Midwest to truly appreciate the honor being accorded when one is cast or carved in butter for the state fair. This year the honoree at the Iowa State Fair is Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson. Her statue will share the spotlilght with the century-old tradition of a Butter Cow:
The Butter Cow starts with a wood, metal, wire and steel mesh frame and about 600 lbs. of low moisture, pure cream Iowa butter. Once inside the 40-degree cooler, layers of butter are applied until a life-size butter cow emerges - measuring about 5-1/2-ft high and 8-ft long. Each year features one of the six major dairy breeds – Jersey, Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Holstein, Guernsey and Milking Shorthorn.

While a real dairy cow weighs more than 1,000 pounds, a 600-lb. butter cow would butter 19,200 slices of toast and take an average person two lifetimes to consume, according to sponsor Midwest Dairy Association. Much of the butter is recycled and reused for up to 10 years.
There is a nice, brief video along with more news details at this DesMoines Register link. The exhibit ends today; if you hurry over to the state fair, you can still see it... (Thanks to Neatorama for the headsup on this item)

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