You Like Butter
February 12, 2019
You might want to stop reading this post right now. It’s folklore speculation time. And I can barely remember being very young and encountering this ‘you like butter’ test. If the yellow buttercup flower reflects in the skin under a child’s chin then the pronouncement follows that “you like butter”.
Could it be true? I think so!
The refractive index of a persons skin is governed by melanin content which is in turn a reaction to exposure to UV radiation. Does someone who has been outdoors and has a tan “like” butter less? Or someone with skin so fair it reflects yellow “like” butter more?
Maybe so! Melanin is the oxidised form of the amino acid tyrosine and the New Zealander’s dietary requirement for this includes milk, cheese, and butter.
Thus, skin which reflects the yellow of a buttercup is an indication of someone depleted of butter. In this sense their body is hungry for, would “like”, some butter.
This basic human metabolic health test may be considered a children’s peer support diagnostic test. Replaced in the modern world by paediatric diagnostic blood tests. Perhaps though, for untold folk eons, well into the 20th century, pastoral cultures practised this means to care for each other.
If you’re still reading this, well done.