Published January 1, 2007.
If you've been annoyed by improperly wrapped sticks of butter—or unmarked blocks of butter—this measuring knife can be a real convenience.
Before the invention of tablespoon-marked butter wrappers, Americans either messily made do by smearing softened butter into measuring spoons or winged it and hoped for the best. But the relatively recent appearance in stores of unmarked artisanal and European-style block butters (as well as the perennial problem of improperly wrapped marked sticks) can leave many wrapper-dependent chefs helpless in the face of precise cookie and cake recipes. If you don't want to rely on imperfect eyeballing skills, this handy reversible ruler-like paddle knife accurately measures and neatly cuts both Elgin-style ("stick") or Western-pack-style ("cube") butter, though it's too narrow for pound-block butter's wider plane. For this convenience, we'll happily make a bit of room in our gadget drawer.