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Margarine is an imitation butter spread used for spreading, baking, and cooking. Hippolyte created it in France, in 1869. He was responding to a challenge by Emperor Napoleon to create a butter substitute for the armed forces and lower classes. It was later named margarine.
Whereas butter is made from the butterfat of milk, modern margarine is made mainly of refined vegetable oil and water, and may also contain milk. In some places in the United States it is colloquially referred to as "oleo", short for oleomargarine .
Margarine, like butter, consists of a water-in-fat emulsion, with tiny droplets of water dispersed uniformly throughout a fat phase in a stable crystalline form. In some jurisdictions margarine must have a minimum fat content of 80% to be labelled as such, the same as butter.Colloquially in the United States, the term margarine is used to describe "non-dairy spreads" like Country Crock and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!, with varying fat contents.
Margarine can be used for spreading, baking, and cooking. It is also commonly used as an ingredient in other food products, such as pastries, doughnuts, and cookies, owing to its versatility.