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The Mystery of the Melting Butter

August 22, 2016

I love a good mystery. I prefer to read them instead of being in the middle of one.
For years the butter dish stayed on the kitchen table day and night. When we remodeled years ago we put in an island with a stove which left no space for a table.
I kept the butter on the island which made it handy for cooking and close to the toaster that was on another counter roughly two steps away. Soon I noticed the butter puddling in its dish. Thinking it was too close to the stove’s heat, I moved it to the counter next to the paper towels.
I have a lot more counter space than ever, but most of it is spoken for. The canisters, toaster, basket of onions and line of small appliances take up one counter. Dishes get drained to the left of the sink and the rest of that counter has become junk space. I keep promising myself that I’ll clear that space, but the butter still won’t go there. It’s too far from where we use it.
The sink is directly behind me when I’m working at the stove. To the right of the sink is the coffee maker. There is little else on this counter–the paper towel stand and a small basket to hold the can opener and hand mixer. The butter dish now calls that counter home with the occasional visit to the stove for cooking duty.
The butter dish started out closer to the paper towel stand which is near the wall. Occasionally, butter ended up on the paper towels so I moved it toward the coffee pot. I keep a placemat on the counter for the coffee creamer and sugar bowl as well as a spoon rest and spoon for stirring the coffee. We are all known for sloppy coffee making. Sugar or powdered creamer will end up on the counter next to the coffee cup rings. Hence the need for a placemat.
My husband or son (I haven’t bothered to find out who since it wasn’t important enough) like to keep the placemat clear and will set the creamer and sugar on the counter. The butter gets shuffled around a bit in the process, but it was still ended up close to the coffee pot.
It wasn’t long before I noticed the butter melting. Thinking it was too close to the hot side of the coffeemaker, I slid it to the back of the counter. That didn’t make a difference so I figured there was a flaw in the butter.
Yesterday I rested my hand on the countertop while the built-in dishwasher was running. It felt very warm to the touch. That little lightbulb went off! I felt all around the counter above the dishwasher and sure enough, the whole area was warm. Off to the side of the dishwasher was cool.
Mystery solved!

From → Everyday Life

  1. People don’t realize how much heat those dishwashers put out. We used to have a dishwasher underneath a laminate counter and I often wondered if that resulted in fumes coming off from either the laminate or the underlying adhesive.

    • I never realized how much heat came off of them since I’ve had a portable for ages. The portables had a wooden top. That’s a good point about the laminate. I hadn’t considered fumes at all!

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