What would you do if your husband – known as “The Elvis of Butter” who, year after year, would win the most famous Iowa Butter Sculpture contest – all of a sudden decided to give up his successful career?
This is the predicament facing the character of Laura (played by Jennifer Garner), in the new movie Butter, an intelligent, hilarious comedy by the English director Jim Field that was just presented at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. What Laura does is roll up her shirt sleeves and take her husband’s place in the competition. After all, the Midwest – or what is often referred to the “heart” of star-and-stripes land – butter is truly serious business. So serious, in fact, that there are seven states in what is known as the Corn Belt of America that organize Butter Sculpture competitions in their annual fairs.
Take Duffy Lyon, for example (see the gallery). For four decades she was the undisputed “Lady of the Butter Cow”, the symbol of the Iowa State Fair, the U.S.’s most famous livestock market which takes place in Des Moines every year.
For those who don’t know, the Butter Cow is a famous bovine that Duffy would create on a steel base from 600 pounds of butter – enough to spread over 19,200 pieces of toast.
She passed away this past June 28th at the age of 81, leaving behind 9 children, 23 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. But she somehow also found the time to become a local – and then national – celebrity, being interviewed by major American newspapers and has made appearances on television shows like The Today Show and Late Night with David Letterman. Her enormous butter sculptures – from Leonardo’s Last Supper to the Pietà by Michelangelo, from Elvis Presley to John Wayne – have been exhibited in 14 States as well as Canada...