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I love to cook. One of my favorite ways to cook is to go to a restaurant, look at the menu, get ideas, and order creatively. It helps to tip well.

For example, I've been successful creating diet ginger ale by ordering it cut with club soda and adding sugar substitute to taste. Also found breakfast burritos are very tasty if you substitute the tortilla with a crape. These work because the directions and goal are simple and understandable.

My current obsession is room temperature butter for the hot rolls. I want the butter to spread. I don't want the butter cooling the rolls. Can order the butter ahead of the rolls, if I must, but time is still at a premium.

If you're lucky you can order room temperature butter and get room temperature butter. More often I'm told they have to refrigerate the butter. I don't want to argue with them about the wisdom of their health codes. Some have tried to microwave it only to present me with abstract art sitting in a pool of drawn butter. This site could teach them how to microwave butter properly but I'm trying to communicate through a busy waiter.

Typically what I'm given is either small foil wrapped pats of butter or a 1 inch by 1 inch by 1/8 inch slice placed on a saucer.

What are your ideas for warming the butter before the rolls cool down? I'm willing to do some work myself at the table.

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    I don't know if I'd qualify 'order[ing] creatively' as 'cooking'. (but then again, some people consider assembling a salad to be 'cooking') – Joe May 16 '16 at 2:29
  • @Joe are you giving me a good natured tease or are you telling me this kind of food preparation is off-topic? – candied_orange May 16 '16 at 3:47
  • CandiedOrange, I'd assume the former. Welcome to Seasoned Advice! – Stephie May 16 '16 at 11:01
  • @CandiedOrange : the former. Getting butter to room temperature is a common problem that'd occur in the process of cooking (eg, if you had to cream butter & sugar together for cookies), so there are contexts where it'd be considered on-topic. – Joe May 16 '16 at 15:44
  • Also just think of the same problem from the restaurant's point of view. You're cooking, you want to serve soft butter, it's still in the fridge, what do you do? – Cascabel May 17 '16 at 0:17
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Ask for a heated glass!
Glasses freshly out of cleaning should be warm anyway, so chances are they have one. Putting the heated glass over your (opened) piece of butter unter the turned-over glass should have the desired effect.

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  • My server actually had this idea once. When he came back he sadly told me that there were no dishes fresh from the dish washer. – candied_orange May 15 '16 at 23:14
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    You could get the same effect from a glass filled carefully with boiling water and left to "proof". The same trick is often used with hot drinks to keep them warmer for longer. – logophobe May 16 '16 at 2:01
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    @logophobe that might work if I set the saucer on top of the glass of hot water and let the heat rise up through it. – candied_orange May 16 '16 at 7:32
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    I meant more that you could use hot water to heat up the glass without it being fresh from washing, but you could try that with a thin saucer too. – logophobe May 16 '16 at 13:36
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Body heat.

You're a balmy 98.6 or so degrees, so put the packet of butter in your pocket and leave your hand on it.

In a minute or two, it'll be soft enough to spread. Plus, you don't have to pester your server for anything additional, it should help you save the odd requests for when you really need their help :)

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  • ... And bring a baggie for those cases where you get an unwrapped piece! ^_^ – Stephie May 16 '16 at 12:23
  • This will certainly warm the butter. Was hoping for something more... elegant. I fear butter meeting the same fate as the coins and cellphones that end up in my washing machine. – candied_orange May 17 '16 at 2:59
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Richard Bertinet softens butter for baking by covering it with the waxed, foil wrapper and pounding it with a rolling pin. Even cold butter becomes pliable with a few dozen wallops.

That's for big 250g blocks of butter and it makes a racket, but I wondered if you could do a small-scale version. Try this:

  • take a square of greaseproof paper to the restaurant.
  • wrap your thin pad of butter in the square
  • squeeze between thumb and forefinger, like blutac or putty.

I reckon it will soften the butter sufficiently without requiring heat.

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    For one moment I had a vision of OP pulling out a rolling pin and whacking the dab of butter ^_^ – Stephie May 16 '16 at 10:59
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    Well, that would work. Maybe one of us should suggest it as an alternate answer? :) – Steve Cooper May 16 '16 at 11:11
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Put it on a plate and mash it out with a fork
It will quickly come to the temp of the plate

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