SELMA – Margarine came in a one-pound box - no cubes, no color. If we wanted it to look like butter, we colored it ourselves with the packet of yellow food coloring that came with the margarine. My mother used a certain wooden bowl for coloring.
When my brother and I heard the wooden bowl plink on the kitchen table, and the door of the icebox open and close, we knew our mother was getting ready to color the margarine.
We ran to the kitchen, shouting, “May I stomp the butter? May I stomp the butter?” whosever turn it was got the job.
The margarine was placed in the wooden bowl, and the food coloring was sprinkled on it. To mix the coloring into the margarine, we used what we called the butter stomper. As the stomper was pushed down, margarine oozed up, and the color spread. It was fun to see the margarine change color and become like butter. You had to turn the margarine over several times, while stomping, to make sure the color was evenly distributed
Sometimes we made our own butter with the cream that came to the top of a bottle of milk.
During World War II, when food was rationed, restaurants had to have a sign telling diners whether butter was served there, or margarine. They could not color their margarine and pass it on as butter. The taste told the difference.
I like today’s margarine. It tastes almost like butter, and it comes already colored.