Americans!" Jacques Pepin exclaims on the set of his PBS series. "You are terrified of using a tiny bit of butter in a dish but you'll pour olive oil all over everything."\r\n\r\nJacques Pepin\u2014former personal chef to Charles DeGaulle, author of 24 books, beloved television personality\u2014loves butter, a passion he shared with longtime pal Julia Child, with whom he received a 2001 Emmy Award for "Julia and Jacques Cook at Home." When audiences ask him to describe the best meal he's ever eaten, he will answer, "Certain tastes carry you back to your youth. I love very good bread with great butter. If you add a piece of saucisson, it is even better. But not just any butter will do." Here are more of his thoughts on this childhood favorite and kitchen essential:\r\n\r\nThe Best Butter Regions: When I first came here [to the U.S.], all I could find that was any good was Land O' Lakes unsalted butter. Now we have butter from Vermont, Ireland, France, Italy. Butters from Normandy and Brittany are extraordinary.\u00a0We are producing better butter, too. Strauss, organic butter from the wine country, is very good. Per Se [in New York] uses butter from a woman in Vermont with a herd of six cows.\r\n\r\nHow to Make Butter: I put leftover cream in the food processor with two ice cubes\u2014this helps move the process along\u2014and before long the water separates and I have very fresh butter that tastes like milk, like cream.\r\n\r\nBetter Butter Makes Better Dishes:\u00a0When finishing a sauce, the highest quality butter is best. When I finish caramel sauce with excellent butter the results are much different than when I use ordinary butter. The same is true with pastry. Butter is harder to work with than, say, lard because the molecules of lard make bigger flakes so it is easier to make uniformly flaky pastry quickly. You can add a bit of butter and make an excellent crust for something savory, for quiche, say, but if you use the same dough for a raspberry tart it will not be good.\u00a0Butter is more delicate.\r\n\r\nSalted or Unsalted? Butter should be unsalted. For pastry I don't want salt. And salt is a preservative so unsalted butter is fresher. But if you're not going to use butter quickly, keep it in the freezer and remove a cube or half cube at a time. If butter does begin to go rancid, you can scrape off the yellow part and use the interior.\r\n\r\nOn Butter Substitutes: I never ever use margarine.\u00a0I do not like the taste. A better substitute is to take a cup of mild tasting oil, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in it and keep it in the refrigerator.\r\n\r\nOn Organic Butter:\u00a0Anything organic is good. Yet the problem is that butter, for example, cannot be called organic unless the cows it comes from eat only certified organic food. The free-range chickens I get at my market cannot be called organic because all of their food is not certified organic. But this is a process.\u00a0We are moving in the direction of organic and that is a good thing. I just turned 71 and my mother and father were organic farmers. Chemical fertilizers, fungicides, pesticides, they did not exist. People farmed organically without knowing it.