Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese

Make the Bread, Buy the ButterMake the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Goodreads: Known to her online foodie following as The Tipsy Baker, Jennifer Reese brings a realistic—and very funny—perspective to the homemade trend, testing whether to make from scratch or simply buy over 100 foods, in what is destined to become the new go-to reference for home cooks.
When Jennifer Reese lost her job as the book critic for Entertainment Weekly, she was overcome by an impulse common among the recently unemployed: to economize by doing for herself what she had previously paid for. And so began a series of kitchen-related experiments with the practical purpose of breaking down whether it makes sense to make household staples—or just pick them up at the corner store.
By no means straight kitchen science, Make the Bread, Buy the Butter tells the often funny stories surrounding these experiments and offers a full picture of what is involved in a truly homemade life. On the practical side, Reese asks a handful of questions about each item to decide whether to make or buy: Is homemade better? Cheaper? How much of a hassle is it to make? And what about sustainability and animal welfare—what value should we place on knowing that our eggs came from happy chickens, for example? Is it somehow ennobling to slaughter your rooster yourself? Full of recipes and featuring an extensive chart at the end that summarizes the make-versus-buy status of every food, this eminently practical yet deliciously fun book reminds readers that they don’t have to do everything by hand—and shows how to get the most out of your time in the kitchen.
My take: Jennifer Reese is a girl after my own heart. I had a similar experience only I didn't write a book about it and I forgot to get the chickens. Mostly because I have an aversion to eating animals I grow, even if it is only eggs. Don't even get me started on growing up on a farm and eating the cows that wandered through the field. Vegetarianism is so under-rated.

So Reese experiments with what can be made at home and what can not. It is hilarious and right on. I agree with her on so many levels. On the title alone, I stopped buying Rhodes rolls over 5 years ago. I can whip up rolls and 5 different artisan breads for pennies thanks to hard economic times. I did, however, have some extra cream and attempted to shake it into butter. Like Reese proposes, it's not worth it.

In a world of changing economic times, Reese takes into account cost and time, economizing both for a fun, entertaining, and educational read.


Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

This is a book I am anxious to read. I am curious to see what the author discovered while experimenting with making form scratch versus buying. It sounds like it might be a humorous read as well! Great review!

Carrie said...

I recently heard about this one and added it to my wishlist. I tend to make my own bread (usually in winter), and did my own take at butter. However, with the price of whipping cream, it didn't save and $$. Although, I did get awesome buttermilk from it and made buttermilk pancakes. Sometimes if I see some cream reduced at the store, I'll buy it and make butter and freeze it for baking, but getting all the buttermilk out of it . . . urgh, too time consuming!

Many times I like to make homemade because I know what goes into it. But I'm really interested in seeing Reese's results!

Patricia N said...

Another wonderful review for a book I probably wouldn't have known about. I agree that vegetarianism is underrated, and I, too, lived on a farm with cows which is why I don't eat them anymore...
Thanks for your blog!
Patti Nicklas