Butter Sculptor's Greasy Legacy


She was perhaps the only person to work with more saturated fat than Paula Deen. Norma "Duffy" Lyon, dubbed the "Queen of the Butter Sculpture," died of a stroke this week.

For more than four decades, Lyon sculpted cows and other figures from butter, often requiring 600 pounds of the fatty stuff for one sculpture. Like the cartoonish "Happy Cows" California dairy commercials, Lyon's cow sculptures looked placid and content. But the cows whose milk was use to create the sculptures were almost certainly anything but. Bearing that in mind, here are a few ideas for butter sculptures that Lyons should have made if she were aiming for a little more verismo:

  • A day-old female calf as she is torn away from her mother while a farmer stands ready with a milking machine to steal the baby's food
  • A cow with a painfully swollen udder caused by the abnormally huge amount of milk she has been genetically manipulated and drugged to produce
  • A day-old male calf as he is dragged away from his distraught mother and shoved into a tiny, dark crate to be raised for veal
  • Or, my personal favorite, a cow made entirely of Earth Balance spread, contentedly nuzzling her calf and wearing a banner that says "Go Vegan!"

“How about this, I keep my milk and you use clay?” 

We hope future lardists will consider a more animal-friendly medium

Written by Michelle Sherrow


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