SpreadTHAT’s self-heating butter knife, Selfridges, RRP £19.99, a titanium-alloyed bronze wand, with its upper edge dully serrated. Used for paring chilled butter in thin, readily smear-able strips.
The best way to make butter better is to get it more quickly.
A self-heating butter knife – what a time to be alive! No more waiting for that morning butter, cold from the fridge. No more impatiently steaming your knife over the kettle, or slipping it into a hot pitta, or, er, owning a butter dish. This truly is Jetsons-level living.
The packet declares this “the Most Advanced Butter Knife in the World”, which is pretty much winning a race no one else was running. But they say that’s the definition of genius, don’t they? Maybe. The packaging boasts other terrific slogans. My favourites are “Spread That!” (like a policeman pushing you up against a wall) and “Spaghetti Effect!” – the battle cry of the most rubbish superhero imaginable.
But cool your jets. This gadget isn’t self-heating in the way you’re thinking, like a towel rail or a pocket warmer. There’s no exothermic reaction, or nano-mechanism hidden in the shaft. Its secret is thermal conduction, transmitting heat from your hand to the blade. Put bluntly, it’s made of metal and doesn’t have a handle. As such, it’s slightly oversold; having a satnav in your car doesn’t make you Knight Rider.
But does it do the job? I try it with various types of butter, none of which provide the “spaghetti effect”, an optimistic description of thin noodles of cold butter rasped off a serrated edge. Instead, I get a “scroll effect”, a pleated roll of cream turning over itself, which is better – and strangely addictive, like whittling. I smear-test it on various kinds of bread, including chewy sourdough and a soft, Nigerian-style agege loaf, because I am a multicultural dream. Impressively, it doesn’t tear the latter’s fluffy crumb (though does compress it, like memory foam). It’s lovely in the hand – broad, dense and smoothly granular. In use it’s luxurious, spreading dairy fat like the metabolism of a man over 40. It plasters peanut butter and fridge-fresh chocolate paste. Other cutlery could do that too, but less deftly. This is a dull knife with a definite point. Expensive, arguably unnecessary and classy as hell – let us raise a toast.
Telling folk you own the most advanced butter knife in the world may not get the reaction you’re hoping for.
Counter, drawer, back of the cupboard?
In the drawer. Spread the word. 3/5