Butter Carving Comes to Hollywood

Barack Obama rendered in butter courtesy of Norma "Duffy" Lyon
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Jennifer Garner has a taste for Butter.

Garner is producing and starring in a film of that name set in the cut-throat world of competitive butter carving.

Butter tells the story of a young, African-American orphan who is adopted by a white, midwestern family. She is discovered to have an uncanny talent for butter carving, a much-revered skill in America’s agricultural heartland. When the girl enters the butter carving contest at the Iowa State Fair she is pitted against Garner’s character, the ultra-competitive, limelight-seeking wife of the sport’s reigning champion. Garner’s husband is forced to step down after fifteen consecutive blue ribbon wins, and she is expected to step into his shoes.

If the tale has a familiar ring to it perhaps that’s because it’s touted as a metaphor for the 2008 Democratic primary election: a young prodigy arrives on the scene to challenge the front-runner, whose coronation is considered to be little more than a formality, and whose husband stepped aside as leader due to term limits.

It’s not exactly NASCAR, but the midwest loves its butter carving contests.

The Iowa State Fair has long been considered the marquee event of the carving season. Since 1910, every fair has featured a Buttercow, a life-sized cow sculpted from nearly a half ton of butter, as well as companion sculptures. Over the years, the country’s premier carvers have re-created DaVinci’s Last Supper, Grant Woods’ American Gothic, Elvis, Tiger Woods, Harry Potter, and the Peanuts gang. Controversy erupted at last year’s Iowa State Fair when it was revealed that a buttery, moonwalking Michael Jackson was included in a tribute to the 40th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s giant leap for mankind. More than 100,000 fair-goers voted, with a 2:1 margin, to prevent its display.

Norma ‘Duffy’ Lyon is known as the Buttercow Lady after 45 invitations to sculpt the cow at the Iowas State Fair. Watch as she creates a masterpiece on her website.

Jim Victor sculpts in a number of media including chocolate, cheese, peanut brittle, and lots and lots of butter. See it all on his website.

Butter (the movie) is currently filming in Shreveport, LA. It also stars Hugh Jackman, Alicia Silverstone, Ty Burrell, and Ashley Greene.

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