I've read about these things for years, and finally got one since the butter had melted in the butter dish on the counter this past weekend. Well, not melted, but it got so soft that it slid off the knife and glopped onto the counter (and the floor, which the cat took care of).
The premise is that you spread softened butter into the bell part, put a 1/4 cup or so of cold water into a high-sided bowl, and turn the bell over into the water so the edges of the bell touch the water, forming a seal - for freshness and to keep butter at a spreadable consistency. And yo have to change the water every couple of days.
Well, I tried it. And I found I'm not really liking it. The water gets on the butter, and while it's not a *lot* of water as it beads up, it just added more moisture than I wanted. Also, several times when I pulled the bell out of the bowl, the entire amount of butter was sucked out of the bell and fell back into the water...adding even *more* moisture than I'd want in my butter.
So, if you have a butter bell - do you like or dislike them and why? I'm just not sure it's worth it just to have soft butter in the summer - probably easier to remember to take the butter out of the fridge about a half hour before needing it. Curious as to what others think about them.