The Science of Holy Butter


Pilgrims pour melting butter from their lamps into the yak butter lamps in the monastery, topping them up continually in Lhasa, Tibet. Don Smith/robertharding/Getty
Pilgrims pour melting butter from their lamps into the yak butter lamps in the monastery, topping them up continually in Lhasa, Tibet. Don Smith/robertharding/Getty

There's more to butter than meets the eye. Each yellow pat of fatty goodness is nothing short of processed solar energy, and its long history entails many a magical and sacred rite. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian consider the curious nature of butter.

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Preparations of Butter Sculptures depicting tales from Tibetan Buddhism are underway for the Butter Sculpture Festival at the Kumbum Monastery outside of Xining on February 7, 2009 in northwest China's Qinghai province on the Tibetan plateau.
Preparations of Butter Sculptures depicting tales from Tibetan Buddhism are underway for the Butter Sculpture Festival at the Kumbum Monastery outside of Xining on February 7, 2009 in northwest China's Qinghai province on the Tibetan plateau.
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images
A student of tourism school finishes a Balinese dancer sculpture made of butter during a Trade Expo in Jakarta on October 29, 2009.
A student of tourism school finishes a Balinese dancer sculpture made of butter during a Trade Expo in Jakarta on October 29, 2009.
BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images

Topics in this Podcast: myth, religion, science, Food