One of the main ingredients in the early margarine was:

A. Whale blubber

B. Beef tallow

C. Emulsified calf belly

D. Rendered chicken and duck fat


Margarine, consisting of beef tallow churned with milk, was first patented in France in 1869. It was created by French chemist Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès, using acide margarique, a fatty acid discovered in 1813 by fellow chemist Michel Eugene Chevreul. The substance contained lustrous, pearly deposits so Chevreul named it after the Greek word margarites, meaning “pearly.” Mège-Mouriès came up with the butter substitute in response to a challenge by Emperor Napoleon III to create a less-expensive option for the military and the lower classes. Jurgens & Co., an established Dutch butter trader, purchased the patent, dyed the stuff yellow, and popularized its use. Production was limited by the availability of beef tallow until 1902 when Wilhelm Normann in Germany patented a process to harden oils by hydrogenation.

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