If you’re a fan of margarine, then you have none other to thank for the butter-substitute than Charles-Louis Napoléon Bonaparte, or Napoleon III, the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1869, a butter shortage led Napoleon III to set up a prize to be awarded to the first person who could create a nutritive and shelf-stable fat to replace butter in the larders of French homes and military bases. A French chemist by the name of Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès won the prize with his mixture of beef tallow and skimmed milk. He called his mixture oleomargarine. We know it today as plain old margarine.

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