Margarine is a commercially manufac-tured substitute for BUTTER. It was invented in 1869 by a French chemist, Meges- Mouries, who solidified animal fats with milk to produce it. Later the method was altered and vegetable oils, such as palm, coconut, groundnut and soya bean oils, were used.
Margarine has Vitamins A and D and salt added to bring its food value up to, and sometimes more than, that of butter, and a milk culture added to give it a buttery taste.
Margarine is unsuitable for frying or for greasing cake tins as when melted it deposits a sediment which causes the food to stick to the pan. Used in pastry, cakes and biscuits , however, it is excellent as it produces a light texture.
Margarine contains polyunsaturated fats (unhydrogenated fats and oils) whereas butter contains saturated fats. Unsaturated fats are believed to be beneficial to health in that they lower the cholesterol level in the blood stream, which helps to prevent coronary heart disease.
The ‘soft’ or ‘table’ margarines are a recent development and are increasing in popularity. A special blend of oils causes these margarines to be soft and easily spread when taken straight from the refrigerator.