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Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn't Cook from Scratch -- Over 120 Recipes for the Best Homemade Foods

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When Jennifer Reese lost her job, she was overcome by an impulse common among the recently unemployed: to economize by doing for herself what she had previously paid for. She had never before considered making her own peanut butter and pita bread, let alone curing her own prosciutto or raising turkeys. And though it sounded logical that "doing it yourself" would cost less, When Jennifer Reese lost her job, she was overcome by an impulse common among the recently unemployed: to economize by doing for herself what she had previously paid for. She had never before considered making her own peanut butter and pita bread, let alone curing her own prosciutto or raising turkeys. And though it sounded logical that "doing it yourself" would cost less, she had her doubts. So Reese began a series of kitchen-related experiments, taking into account the competing demands of everyday contemporary American family life as she answers some timely questions: When is homemade better? Cheaper? Are backyard eggs a more ethical choice than store-bought? Will grinding and stuffing your own sausage ruin your week? Is it possible to make an edible maraschino cherry? Some of Reese's discoveries will surprise you: Although you should make your hot dog buns, guacamole, and yogurt, you should probably buy your hamburger buns, potato chips, and rice pudding. Tired? Buy your mayonnaise. Inspired? Make it. With its fresh voice and delightful humor, Make the Bread, Buy the Butter gives 120 recipes with eminently practical yet deliciously fun "Make or buy" recommendations. Reese is relentlessly entertaining as she relates her food and animal husbandry adventures, which amuse and perplex as well as nourish and sustain her family. Her tales include living with a backyard full of cheerful chickens, muttering ducks, and adorable baby goats; countertops laden with lacto-fermenting pickles; and closets full of mellowing cheeses. Here's the full picture of what is involved in a truly homemade life -- with the good news that you shouldn't try to make everything yourself -- and how to get the most out of your time in the kitchen.


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When Jennifer Reese lost her job, she was overcome by an impulse common among the recently unemployed: to economize by doing for herself what she had previously paid for. She had never before considered making her own peanut butter and pita bread, let alone curing her own prosciutto or raising turkeys. And though it sounded logical that "doing it yourself" would cost less, When Jennifer Reese lost her job, she was overcome by an impulse common among the recently unemployed: to economize by doing for herself what she had previously paid for. She had never before considered making her own peanut butter and pita bread, let alone curing her own prosciutto or raising turkeys. And though it sounded logical that "doing it yourself" would cost less, she had her doubts. So Reese began a series of kitchen-related experiments, taking into account the competing demands of everyday contemporary American family life as she answers some timely questions: When is homemade better? Cheaper? Are backyard eggs a more ethical choice than store-bought? Will grinding and stuffing your own sausage ruin your week? Is it possible to make an edible maraschino cherry? Some of Reese's discoveries will surprise you: Although you should make your hot dog buns, guacamole, and yogurt, you should probably buy your hamburger buns, potato chips, and rice pudding. Tired? Buy your mayonnaise. Inspired? Make it. With its fresh voice and delightful humor, Make the Bread, Buy the Butter gives 120 recipes with eminently practical yet deliciously fun "Make or buy" recommendations. Reese is relentlessly entertaining as she relates her food and animal husbandry adventures, which amuse and perplex as well as nourish and sustain her family. Her tales include living with a backyard full of cheerful chickens, muttering ducks, and adorable baby goats; countertops laden with lacto-fermenting pickles; and closets full of mellowing cheeses. Here's the full picture of what is involved in a truly homemade life -- with the good news that you shouldn't try to make everything yourself -- and how to get the most out of your time in the kitchen.

30 review for Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn't Cook from Scratch -- Over 120 Recipes for the Best Homemade Foods

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melki

    I can proclaim with absolute certainty this is the most enjoyable cookbook I will probably never use! I have no plans to make my own cream cheese. I will not be fermenting my own kimchi, curing my own meat, or even rendering my own lard. But... This is easily one of the most entertaining books I have read this year. The author is FUNNY! Her saucy writing style, willingness to try anything, and dogged devotion to exhausting research reminds me of Mary Roach. I giggled when she bought a skin-on pork I can proclaim with absolute certainty this is the most enjoyable cookbook I will probably never use! I have no plans to make my own cream cheese. I will not be fermenting my own kimchi, curing my own meat, or even rendering my own lard. But... This is easily one of the most entertaining books I have read this year. The author is FUNNY! Her saucy writing style, willingness to try anything, and dogged devotion to exhausting research reminds me of Mary Roach. I giggled when she bought a skin-on pork belly from a Chinese market that was covered with big, fleshy nipples. I snorted over her tale of making homemade hot dogs. I snickered merrily while reading about her attempts at keeping and raising chickens and goats -(big successes!), ducks and turkeys - (eh, not so much.) The book is basically an exploration into whether it is better to buy a product, or make it yourself, and Reese includes Hassle ratings that range from Easy to Truly a pain in the ass. My favorite was You will want to bludgeon yourself with your rolling pin about halfway through this project. Some of her advice is surprising. Did you know you should make your own hot dog rolls because they are delicious, but BUY hamburger rolls because you want them to be spongy and absorbent? And I may just try making my own bagels because apparently, I've NEVER had a good one. The cheese making chapter frightened me. All that talk of curds, moldy rinds, and in one case, maggots, kind of put me off even eating cheese. And then there was the "sauerkraut thing." First you shove your cabbage and whey into a mason jar and cover it with a T-shirt. Then you let it ferment at room temperature, and (here's the part that gets me...) you taste it daily. When you like the flavor - it's done. That means, for several days, you're tasting something you DON'T like. Yuck! I can't think of another book that taught me how to make not only marshmallows, but vermouth, as well. This was a fun, fun read, and I recommend the book highly, even if, like me, you are virtually a non-cook.

  2. 4 out of 5

    catharine

    Did I find this book useful? Maybe. I now am encouraged to try baking bread, making yogurt, making hummus, and beef jerky, based on her book. I will report back after spending a Saturday doing these things and we will see. But I got really tired of the tone after she started trying to raise livestock. So a minor digression. There is an alarming persona at work in our culture. The tone in "Julie and Julia" and now in "Make the Bread, Buy the Butter" is one of women who decide that they are going Did I find this book useful? Maybe. I now am encouraged to try baking bread, making yogurt, making hummus, and beef jerky, based on her book. I will report back after spending a Saturday doing these things and we will see. But I got really tired of the tone after she started trying to raise livestock. So a minor digression. There is an alarming persona at work in our culture. The tone in "Julie and Julia" and now in "Make the Bread, Buy the Butter" is one of women who decide that they are going to embrace the domestic arts, and then, sit aghast as things go awry. It's the same tone as Dooce. It's the same tone in "The Bloggess". It's this odd, cardboard HELPLESSNESS, where they appear to be doing something that's not easy for them for the FIRST TIME EVER, and the thing that keeps driving me crazy is how paralyzed they seem by it. So in this book, the author buys chickens, and then is astonished at how expensive it is to keep chickens from getting killed by small carnivorous mammals. (Um, duh?) She buys a goat and is astonished when it bleats loudly and she worries that the neighbors will turn her in to the police for having a goat that violates the local zoning laws. Don't get me wrong. I totally see the humor in the situation, but what hurts me is that she just seems to let this stuff happen to her, rather than seizing control of the situation and trying to fix it. The language here... it's awful. "I went into the house, sat on the sofa, and listened to Pastry (her goat). Neighbors were listening to Pastry. If we got busted, I would not blame them.... My heart would break. Fifteen minutes later, Pastry and I were in the van driving north." Note the use of passive voice. She doesn't drive Pastry (that we can tell). They were in the van together. One wonders if Pastry took a turn at the wheel. Imagine, if you will, this same passage, written with a bit more personal autonomy: "Dear god this goat is making a lot of noise. I'm thinking that this situation is unlivable. I mean, farms are large for a reason. It's so you can stick the noisy animals far, far away from your bed and they can bleat their little hearts out. So I took action, loaded a reluctant Pastry into the car, and drove her north, back to the farm where I bought her with money I had earned as an adult who participates as a functional individual in the economic gestalt of our society. I broke the speed limit getting there, too." Equally funny. But less, oh god, hapless. Why so effing hapless! Is that they key to being a likable author in this niche? Are all these memoir/cookbook authors clustered together into the same demographic, and reinforcing each other into using the same bland, confused tone of lady-children? Ahhhhhhh! And then on the next page she narrates a debate she has with her son where she asks him to feed the goats and he tells her no. Just go feed the effing goats, child, this is not even interesting on the internet! --- So a useful book: maybe. An infuriating book: yes. As an antidote, I think I'm going to go read Julia Child's memoir. Or maybe Madhur Jaffrey's lovely "Climbing the Mango Trees". Or anything by Ruth Reichl.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    When I lost my job, I started cooking beans from dry but that's about as far as I got going down the road to discovering which recipes I could use my newly-found time to make. And when I heard about this book, I kept recommending it to people I knew who made preserves. Finally I realized I was recommending it because I was interested, so I sat down and read it. Just when I was thinking we might have to give up the dog in favor of chickens and goats, Reese writes, "It seems a tragic waste to shap When I lost my job, I started cooking beans from dry but that's about as far as I got going down the road to discovering which recipes I could use my newly-found time to make. And when I heard about this book, I kept recommending it to people I knew who made preserves. Finally I realized I was recommending it because I was interested, so I sat down and read it. Just when I was thinking we might have to give up the dog in favor of chickens and goats, Reese writes, "It seems a tragic waste to shape one's life around doctrinaire rejection of industrial foods." Occasionally, Reese values cost savings over hassle too much for me. But I do agree with her that Big Food has convinced us we are too busy to do many things that are really quite easy to do from scratch. (Caveat--I am the kind of person who makes bagels because the bagel bakeries have all closed for Passover.) (The way around her aversion to her mental picture of women being oppressed by canning is to find a husband who enjoys doing it. Just sayin'.)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    I "read" this book as much as you can read what is essentially a cook book with a lot of fascinating and hilarious introductions and clarification. Finding herself without a job, Reese decided to try making a whole lot of stuff that we typically buy at the grocery store: bread and butter, as the title suggests, along with a whole slew of other items like cheese, corn dogs, cured meats, salad dressing, jams, etc. Based on the cost, taste, and work involved, this book contains her recommendations o I "read" this book as much as you can read what is essentially a cook book with a lot of fascinating and hilarious introductions and clarification. Finding herself without a job, Reese decided to try making a whole lot of stuff that we typically buy at the grocery store: bread and butter, as the title suggests, along with a whole slew of other items like cheese, corn dogs, cured meats, salad dressing, jams, etc. Based on the cost, taste, and work involved, this book contains her recommendations of what is worth making and what you should just buy pre-made, along with recipes for those things worth making, or at least attempting to make. Her accounts of raising chickens (which I have done, although not to the same scale) and bees (which my husband wants to do) are hilarious. I tried her "apple crisp pie" recipe this weekend (although I did not make my own pie crust as she recommends, because I had a pre-made crust in the refrigerator) and it was delicious. I picked this book out of the new book section of the library, but will probably buy my own copy.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    This book is a mixed bag. For the positive, the story-telling is humorous and easy to follow, and the format is well-done (what is the cost of making it versus buying it, what is the hassle, and what is the quality difference). For the negative, when I want to make something from home, it is because I want to make something artisan, not because I want a homemade pop-tart. This complaint is more reflective of me and my tastes than the recipies of the author, but if you would rather make a pain ch This book is a mixed bag. For the positive, the story-telling is humorous and easy to follow, and the format is well-done (what is the cost of making it versus buying it, what is the hassle, and what is the quality difference). For the negative, when I want to make something from home, it is because I want to make something artisan, not because I want a homemade pop-tart. This complaint is more reflective of me and my tastes than the recipies of the author, but if you would rather make a pain chocolate or cornetto when you make a pastry then this book is not for you. More importantly however, the author often has an authoritative voice when she doesn't know what she is talking about. For those interested in making cheese (purists, she says, don't use animal rennet or CaCl, which is false. Fresh cheeses are made with raw milk and don't need CaCl and can use fungal or vegtable rennet, but any aged chees needs animal rennet to develop depth of flavor) or charcuterie (I think it is important to understand the science of preserving in order to avoid problems of preserving meats, and there are no explanations offered here. The flavor choices are intriguing and I will try them, but I won't use her ratios) must look elsewhere. Also, her recipe for Worchestershire sauce looks very good, but it's not Worchestershire sauce (which was invented to have the same effect as fish sauce without having fish in it, for those with fish allergies) it is an anchovy-based fish sauce. So again, it's a mixed bag. I wanted it to be good, and some of the recipes are, but for the most part it is inadequate for my uses and insufficient to understand what it is you are doing to the ingredients.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    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 le 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. ***Edit: Okay, I have a confession to make. I didn't read the whole book when I wrote this review. I still haven't. I skipped around and read about the foods I was most interested in. Specifically, I read about eggs. I may have laughed so hard I wet myself just a little bit. Just kidding but only because I have an iron bladder. I'm not quoting verbatim but she said something like, "Our city allows up to 12 hens. We got 19." She then tells how her husband found out about the chicks and what he said. That's about where I needed to go to the bathroom. I can't quote it because I try not to swear in my reviews (keeping it to real life), but I would think my husband had similar thoughts. He does not verbalize his cuss words but I think he might have thought those. Just to add to this portion of the book, my experiences have been incredibly similar and her summary of chickens is sickeningly accurate. The difference between the author and myself is that when I found the chicken corpses after my dog got a hold of them, I may have had a slight psychotic break. This is also the time when my cussing mouth took off all by itself. Other similarities is the cost of the eggs is astronomical when factoring in the start-up costs; coop, run, food, light/heat, shock collar for dog, etc., etc. Difference is that I quit keeping track of the cost long before she did. My children complain when I call out to the hens, "Ladies! Come here, Ladies!" Also, when they can't find me in the house, they look in the garden where I may be found digging up worms with the shovel, chickens surrounding me. They bring us joy. They're cute. They come when I call. I'm their person. They are my ladies.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dana Stabenow

    A few caveats before we get started, Reese writes in the introduction. First, although, like most people, I think about money, I've always been able to clothe my children and pay the mortgage and if I couldn't whether I bought or made creme fraiche--or bread, to use a less absurd example--would make no difference. It is frivolous and deluded to think it would. I just wanted to address and answer some middle-class home economics questions that nagged my Michael Pollan-reading, price-checking, ove A few caveats before we get started, Reese writes in the introduction. First, although, like most people, I think about money, I've always been able to clothe my children and pay the mortgage and if I couldn't whether I bought or made creme fraiche--or bread, to use a less absurd example--would make no difference. It is frivolous and deluded to think it would. I just wanted to address and answer some middle-class home economics questions that nagged my Michael Pollan-reading, price-checking, overthinking self. This is not a book about how to scrape by on a budget and it is not a book about how to go off the grid. Well, thank god for that. As faithful followers of my Goodreads reviews well know, I, too, read The Omnivore's Dilemma and when I finished it I said out loud, "Well, what the hell can I eat then?" Here instead is an examination of the art of the possible in the kitchen, with recipes graded by three scales: Make it or buy it?, Hassle, and Cost comparison. She starts with peanut butter (Make it or buy it?: Make it.) and goes on to truffles (Hassle: Actually, yes. These are a hassle.) to mozzarella (Cost comparison: If you have a good source for the proper milk (like a couple of goats) this is a bargain.... Smart and funny, and worth reading for the chapter on raising chickens alone. I'm going to try her bread recipe.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Book Him Danno

    This book is fantastic and everyone who enjoys cooking needs to get their hands on this book. What is best made homemade and what is best bought at the store? Well she sums it up in easy to understand writing adding a bit of humor along the way. Currently I have my homemade yogurt draining on the counter. How fun is that? Who knew I could make yogurt and Greek style to boot. I will be purchasing a copy or two of this book for family members who love to cook. Homemade is so much better tasting and This book is fantastic and everyone who enjoys cooking needs to get their hands on this book. What is best made homemade and what is best bought at the store? Well she sums it up in easy to understand writing adding a bit of humor along the way. Currently I have my homemade yogurt draining on the counter. How fun is that? Who knew I could make yogurt and Greek style to boot. I will be purchasing a copy or two of this book for family members who love to cook. Homemade is so much better tasting and better for you than many of the store bought fakes(no preservatives). This book will help you decide if it is worth making the items you like from scratch or just buying them in the store. What a wonderful idea for the cook or want-to-be cook in your life. She even adds whether it is cost effective to make the item at home…got to love that. This is a book to buy for your home and an extra copy for those you know who are trying to save money or eat less premade items and more homemade. I think this book will save me money and keep us healthier in the long run…thanks Jennifer for this terrific resource. 4 1/2 stars because cooking is not for everyone.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kirsti

    Intriguing premise, sharp-witted writing. Haven't tried any of the recipes yet. One thing I didn't like is how California-centric the book is. The nearest See's Candies is hundreds of miles from me, plus I can't grow lemons in my backyard, so I really don't want to hear about it, Jennifer. UPDATE: I thought my homemade hot chocolate mix was good, but this one puts mine to shame.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nikki Coffelt

    A rigorously honest food manifesto, the author gives a "make or buy" recommendation for each type of food she experimented with (comparing "from scratch" versions with common products purchased at the supermarket) after losing her job. She bases these recommendations on the obvious differences in taste as well as level of "hassle" (ranging from "a 4-year-old could do it" to "you will want to bludgeon yourself with your rolling pin about halfway through this project" :) and cost comparisons, righ A rigorously honest food manifesto, the author gives a "make or buy" recommendation for each type of food she experimented with (comparing "from scratch" versions with common products purchased at the supermarket) after losing her job. She bases these recommendations on the obvious differences in taste as well as level of "hassle" (ranging from "a 4-year-old could do it" to "you will want to bludgeon yourself with your rolling pin about halfway through this project" :) and cost comparisons, right down to the penny. She even demystifies (and de-romanticizes) the prospects of beekeeping and tending one's own chickens-VERY helpful! I admittedly took some pause whilst she proclaimed in the first 100 pages that she could not "taste a difference" between a factory-farmed and a homegrown and/or pasture-raised egg yolk... a few pages later confessing that she couldn't "get enough" of Starbucks' scones "circa 1995." I thought to myself, "Ugh, really!?! Should I actually be taking counsel from this person regarding food!?" But continue reading, I did, and was very quickly charmed once again by her humor and industrious nature, causing me to conclude that well... maaaaybe we can all let her off the hook for these admissions ;) Don't we all have our guilty pleasures, after all? I sure do. Besides, she more than makes up for it with the preamble to her butterscotch pudding recipe, "Traditional butterscotch contains no Scotch, but I tried adding a teaspoon to my pudding, inspired by a Cook's Illustrated recipe. It's a genius touch. That wee dram of smoky liquor cuts the sweetness and brings the flavor of this dessert into focus. The pudding is satiny and complex. Jell-O brand butterscotch pudding mix contains no Scotch, of course, but also no butter. It does find room for disodium phosphate and yellow dyes 5 and 6." A bit of an "encyclopedia of cookbooks," I really enjoyed becoming familiar with some of the experts in each category. My favorite chapters were those describing how easily one can cure meats and ferment foods. I am anxious to begin testing some of her recipes and already feel that I picked up some great tips and generally helpful/new culinary knowledge, which I will be incorporating into my kitchen immediately! Yep, this book has all of those qualities that I yearn for in those of its genre: charming, entertaining, informative. With very little pretense, it is practical, accessible, and damn-near comprehensive; rendering it an important and timely work with potentially far-reaching political and environmental implications. Reese is a wonderful writer, earnest researcher, and heartfelt storyteller with a fabulous wit. From her hilarious reaction to the temporary import ban on curry leaves (i.e., "I decided I [obviously] needed a curry tree. After I asked at the local nurseries and was met with blank looks, I tracked down an outfit in New Jersey that would sell me a four-inch Murraya koenigii for fifteen dollars...") to her courageous and tender attempts at acquiring livestock- an experiment that ends up bearing more resemblance to a menagerie- (i.e., "When you start making cheese, it's a matter of days, perhaps hours, before you 'idly' look up the local municipal code to see if you are permitted to keep a couple of goats, East Friesian sheep, maybe even a cow. While you can produce surprisingly good cheeses with supermarket milk, unhomogenized fresh milk is the coin of the realm. Cows were out of the question for our suburban lot, and goats, I soon learned, are illegal, as are sheep. I was not about to let this deter me."), her project is inspiring from beginning to end, regardless of the different outcomes. And her ability to make the reader laugh out loud can not be overstated: "Anyone can make crisps and simple chocolate cakes and cupcakes and rustic cookies with half an hour and an Easy-Bake oven. And chefs can make random collages of delicious dessert components and scatter them, Jackson Pollock-style, on a plate. But it takes skill and discipline and a severe repression of the ego to make a perfect Napoleon." Or later, when Reese is delineating the process of making Danish from scratch, "In hopes of shaving some time off the process, I turned to a recipe that Beatrice Ojakanagas contributed to 'Baking with Julia' by Dorie Greenspan, in which you throw the ingredients into a food processor: 'Don't think you're cheating by taking the fast track-- this is the way it's done these days all over Denmark, where they know great Danish when they taste it.' Obviously, all that social welfare has been making those Danes soft. Though I'm not Danish, I think the old-fashioned Danishes are better. Harder-and better. If you're going to the trouble to make something as fattening as a Danish, you may as well go whole hog." I must say I wholeheartedly agree.

  11. 5 out of 5

    EsEfEm

    I really hated this book. I really really hated the author. The main reason I wanted to read this to begin with was because Jennifer Reese lost her job and went on a quest to find the cheapest way to eat. HAHA. What the dust jacket fails to mention is even without Jennifer's income, her family still has enough money to throw around THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS on impulse buys. Plus, more than half of the recipes in this book go like this: Make it or buy it: MAKE IT Cost comparison: Homemade: $5.68. Store I really hated this book. I really really hated the author. The main reason I wanted to read this to begin with was because Jennifer Reese lost her job and went on a quest to find the cheapest way to eat. HAHA. What the dust jacket fails to mention is even without Jennifer's income, her family still has enough money to throw around THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS on impulse buys. Plus, more than half of the recipes in this book go like this: Make it or buy it: MAKE IT Cost comparison: Homemade: $5.68. Store bought: $0.78. Where is the economizing? Nowhere. This book made me angrier and angrier the farther I read, until I got to the point where I started dog earing (and I never, ever do that) the pages of things that pissed me off the most. *Burritos. A burrito is the easiest, quickest, simplest thing you can make. Throw literally any food in a tortilla, and you have a burrito. According to Jennifer Reese, however, burritos are too much of a hassle to make, and totally worth spending $5-$8 on in a restaurant. *Onion rings. Here is a direct quote from the book: "But a lot of restaurants take pride in their onion rings and they deserve credit and your business." Yes! I agree! My grandparents owned and operated their own restaurant for decades, and their onion rings were amazing!! Jennifer Reese continues: "The Outback Steakhouse Bloomin' Onion? Bloomin' delicious." .........oh. *Pesto. There was nothing wrong with her pesto recipe, actually. But saying a walnut pesto lacked a certain je ne sais quoi makes me want to drown her in a big bowl of the damn pesto. *Honey. My god. The honey chapter. This idiot spent $1200 to buy her own bee colony and harvest her own honey. What she failed to do was a modicum of research into bees and how they would interact with the trees in her yard. The buckeye tree in her yard killed off the bee colony because, aw shucks, buckeye is toxic to bees. BUT WAIT! The next year, she got another bee colony! Surprise! All the bees died again. *Bacon. "Even vegetarians love bacon." Ugh. Just ugh. Please go meet some people who have been vegetarian longer than 6 months and revise. *Ducks. By this point in the book, Reese has impulse bought 19 chickens, 2 bee colonies, probably a host of other animals I didn't dog ear, and now here come the impulse bought ducklings. "Oh they're so cute! Oh they'll lay a lot of eggs! Oh...3 of the 4 are males. Oh...they're really loud and annoying. Let's sell them on Craigslist!" *Goats. Another impulse buy! She didn't even have supplies for a kid before she got it. She drove out to pick up the goat and stopped at Target on the way home to get bottles AND DIAPERS. The poor baby goat is lonely :( LET'S GO GET ANOTHER GOAT!! Ew, this other goat is loud and annoying. LET'S RETURN THE GOAT!! All this because she wanted fresh goat milk to make goat cheese. And get this: "I estimate that we have spent $1,600 on our goats and acquired not a drop of milk." *Maraschino cherries. "I poured so much money into attempting to make my own maraschino cherries that I could put a small down payment on an orchard." Then there is a huuuge long winded story only to end with "Buy it." *Chutney. This was just one of MANY things in this book that was completely pointless, much like the maraschino cherries. I don't need you to tell me a cutesy little anecdote about whatever food you're on about only to then not have a recipe for said food. This is a cookbook. If there isn't a recipe, leave it the hell out. At this point I gave up dog earing the pages because I had moved past anger to disgust and just wanted to be done with it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    AdultNonFiction Teton County Library

    TCL Call#: 641.3 Reese J Madeleine - 3 stars This was a great book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Why 3 stars? She seems to forget labor in her economic calculations. While each recipe has clear cost comparisons they do not include time needed to make the item. While it might be cheaper to make my own cheese it would be good to know it takes hours - weeks - months. I do not consider my labor to be free. Even if I love cooking it should be considered a factor. Plus, she obviously lives in California w TCL Call#: 641.3 Reese J Madeleine - 3 stars This was a great book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Why 3 stars? She seems to forget labor in her economic calculations. While each recipe has clear cost comparisons they do not include time needed to make the item. While it might be cheaper to make my own cheese it would be good to know it takes hours - weeks - months. I do not consider my labor to be free. Even if I love cooking it should be considered a factor. Plus, she obviously lives in California where the temperatures are moderate and access to ingredients can be a quick car drive away. There were several recipes where she references hopping out to her local oriental market. Those cost comparisons will change drastically when that convenience is removed. And making cheese in your temperature controlled crawl space has a whole different reality here in Wyoming. Finally, you’d best like bread. Lots of bread. I loved her chapter on raising chickens for eggs. I had the same odd experience once removed. While caretaking a friend’s chickens I too found that I loved them when they had the run of the yard. The minute they were confined to their pens I found them distasteful. Let them out again – yay, fantastic!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I kind of love to read cookbooks anyways, but this one was particularly enjoyable. I enjoy the mental challenge of wondering how to make things from scratch, though I'll never attempt anything to the level this author did. She rates each recipe by cost and hassle, and I value the hassle she went through to create this book! More importantly, her writing is hilarious and I enjoyed every bit. Recommended highly to Renae Morehead, who, if she tries a few recipes, I'd like to do it alongside her.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Full of methods and recipes and suggestions for making your kitchen more economical and efficient without sacrificing too much of your valuable time (or at least providing you with the knowledge to decide if the time investment is worth it) and without feeling like you are cutting off your right arm in the process.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tony Noland

    This is a fun, very readable book that will certainly be of interest for two distinct classes of people who typically have ZERO overlap: 1) foodies who make everything from scratch; 2) "fast foodies" who make everything from a box. Generations ago, food was prepared in the kitchen, beginning with raw ingredients, often grown or raised by the family. Vegetables, fruits, grains, livestock, eggs, etc. were turned into food through the skillful expenditure of lots of time. In contrast, the processed This is a fun, very readable book that will certainly be of interest for two distinct classes of people who typically have ZERO overlap: 1) foodies who make everything from scratch; 2) "fast foodies" who make everything from a box. Generations ago, food was prepared in the kitchen, beginning with raw ingredients, often grown or raised by the family. Vegetables, fruits, grains, livestock, eggs, etc. were turned into food through the skillful expenditure of lots of time. In contrast, the processed foods we buy today promise economy and convenience, but usually at the cost of flavor, nutrition and wholesomeness. In this book, homemade and processed versions of a variety of foods are compared, head-to-head. The comparisons are preceded by stories and anecdotes from the author's food quest, from her childhood spent in her mother's (and her grandmother's) kitchen. In a refreshingly fact-based way, she evaluates the foods not simply on the quality of the product, but also on the cost and the hassle involved. Even if something tastes better homemade, if it is hugely expensive or a tremendous pain in the ass, it may be better to buy it. Conversely, even if something is more hassle than picking up a wrapped package at the supermarket, the cost savings or the resultant quality may justify making it at home. The appendix gives supplier information for obscure items such as cheese starter cultures for Roquefort and mozzarella, herbs and spices to make vermouth, pink salt to make back bacon, etc. I liked this book, mostly because I like to cook, but I also like to be efficient with how I use my time and money. What led me to give this four stars instead of five is that the recipes are adequate, but don't quite give a complete picture of the process involved in making some of the foods. For example, making the marshmallows was rather more difficult than the author claimed, mostly because using a hand mixer is NOT really a good substitute for using a heavy stand mixer.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Dacyczyn

    5 stars for the humorous anecdotes, 3 stars for the recipes, and 2 stars for the overall mission success. I didn't read this book cover-to-cover, so this is based on the parts I read and skimmed. I bounced around a lot. I loved the author's style of humorous writing. Some of the anecdotes and visual descriptions were pretty hilarious. I tried a couple of the recipes in this book. The chocolate chip pumpkin muffins were delicious. The "Everyday Bread" was pretty lackluster, in my opinion. I'd proba 5 stars for the humorous anecdotes, 3 stars for the recipes, and 2 stars for the overall mission success. I didn't read this book cover-to-cover, so this is based on the parts I read and skimmed. I bounced around a lot. I loved the author's style of humorous writing. Some of the anecdotes and visual descriptions were pretty hilarious. I tried a couple of the recipes in this book. The chocolate chip pumpkin muffins were delicious. The "Everyday Bread" was pretty lackluster, in my opinion. I'd probably just find the recipes online rather than buy the whole book. As for the overall mission of comparing the cost/hassle of making versus buying.....Eh, not as great. There wasn't a lot of in-depth research done here on the options, but rather the author makes a judgement based on her singular experiences. Chickens aren't worth it for eggs because she spent $2500 on a fence. Yikes. Or, sometimes she says something is a hassle, with very little explanation, while other times she says it's a hassle, but still gives the recipe. Croissants are a humongous hassle, but there was 3-4 pages dedicated to making them? Or, homemade lemonade is a slight hassle, but it's so much tastier than Country Time.....My response to that one would have been that making homemade lemonade with bottled lemon juice is both hassle free and delicious (1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of lemon juice, 6 or so cups of water depending on your preference), but the author only gave the fresh-squeezed-lemon option. So...I'd say the book was worth checking out from the library, but not worth buying.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I think it can be said that I've "read" this at this point; I skipped around a lot, but I think I've gotten to all the parts now. I found her tone and style fun, even (especially?) when she was doing obvious-fail things, and I relate to her wistfulness over certain areas of domesticity (including obsessing over recipes as a child, though she was far more effective in actually creating food from the recipes!). I'm not sure the make vs. buy aspect works the same for people in other regions of the I think it can be said that I've "read" this at this point; I skipped around a lot, but I think I've gotten to all the parts now. I found her tone and style fun, even (especially?) when she was doing obvious-fail things, and I relate to her wistfulness over certain areas of domesticity (including obsessing over recipes as a child, though she was far more effective in actually creating food from the recipes!). I'm not sure the make vs. buy aspect works the same for people in other regions of the country, but I still think that gimmick makes the book, as it was really interesting to read, and the idea of even attempting to make something like Grape Nuts from scratch was fascinating to me. Perhaps it should be noted that the author is a little preoccupied by the idea of "beakless" factory farm birds when comparing to store-bought poultry, and slaughters her own livestock at least twice in this book (still other times, her poultry are killed by predators). This was my read-while-eating book for awhile, and it was slightly grosser than I had expected, though I certainly don't begrudge her sharing that seldom-discussed aspect of the experience.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Neligh

    It's just OK. She doesn't do things very frugally and then concludes everything is too expensive (for example, who, when trying to determine if it's cost effective to have backyard eggs for a family of 4, would get 27 chickens?). She hates gardening and canning, so there isn't much on that. She has goats, but the book is published before either gives birth (and so before either has milk). Her strength -kind of- is to compare the cost of making something with store bought staples versus buying a It's just OK. She doesn't do things very frugally and then concludes everything is too expensive (for example, who, when trying to determine if it's cost effective to have backyard eggs for a family of 4, would get 27 chickens?). She hates gardening and canning, so there isn't much on that. She has goats, but the book is published before either gives birth (and so before either has milk). Her strength -kind of- is to compare the cost of making something with store bought staples versus buying a finished product (this is how she concludes you should buy butter, because cream is even more expensive). Even then, the comparisons don't always work. She concludes that her $1-per-loaf homemade bread is better than $5 storebought bread, even though hers is white bread and $5 bread is usually more complex and good for you. I do love her writing though and have held on to the book just for that.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nollie

    This book came highly recommended, but when I saw her price comparisons and how much hassle she said most of the recipes were, I don't know why you'd make half of those things to save 50 cents, if any money at all. Plus, since she did her shopping at Safeway and Whole Foods, which are two of the most notoriously expensive grocery stores known to man, she deserves a kick in the pants for paying $5 for a cake mix or $3.66 for chocolate pudding that you can buy for 49 cents, plus 30 more cents in m This book came highly recommended, but when I saw her price comparisons and how much hassle she said most of the recipes were, I don't know why you'd make half of those things to save 50 cents, if any money at all. Plus, since she did her shopping at Safeway and Whole Foods, which are two of the most notoriously expensive grocery stores known to man, she deserves a kick in the pants for paying $5 for a cake mix or $3.66 for chocolate pudding that you can buy for 49 cents, plus 30 more cents in milk. I support homemade culinary adventures, but I think hers weren't a fair representation of what things actually cost and most people don't have the time to spend on cooking like she does.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    I loved this book! The author's escapades with her various projects are hilarious. It was interesting to read how some things are really made and I am glad that some things are ready and waiting for me in the store!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen

    Mostly self aware about the limitations of home cooking, with some excellent recipes I can’t wait to try.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    It’s seldom that I rate a cookbook five stars, but Make the Bread, Buy the Butter is so much more than a cookbook. Cover blurb says: “When Jennifer Reese lost her job, she was overcome by an impulse common among the recently unemployed: to economize by doing for herself what she had previously paid for. . . . So Reese began a series of kitchen-related experiments, taking into account the competing demands of everyday contemporary American family life . . . . Although you should make your hot dog It’s seldom that I rate a cookbook five stars, but Make the Bread, Buy the Butter is so much more than a cookbook. Cover blurb says: “When Jennifer Reese lost her job, she was overcome by an impulse common among the recently unemployed: to economize by doing for herself what she had previously paid for. . . . So Reese began a series of kitchen-related experiments, taking into account the competing demands of everyday contemporary American family life . . . . Although you should make your hot dog buns, guacamole, and yogurt, you should probably buy your hamburger buns, potato chips, and rice pudding. Tired? Buy your mayonnaise. Inspired? Make it.” Reese considers much more than just the cost-saving (or not) of making your own, but also time and effort expenditure, ethics, and quality & taste. Where her opinion is that you should make something, she provides a recipe – over 120 of them. I always try at least one recipe from a cookbook before I pass judgment. In this case, it was ‘Simplest Buttercream’ frosting. It was that simple – and scrumptious. But it’s not the recipes that made me love this book – it was the wit and warmth as she regaled me with the stories of cooking, baking and animal husbandry. I read this cover to cover, and every bit of it was a delight. A huge shout of thanks to Leslie at Under My Apple Tree for prompting me to buy it. 5 stars

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    I had heard about this book on public radio years ago and then was never able to find it until recently. The premise appeals *directly* to my heart/soul: taking taste, effort, time, and money into account what food items are worth making yourself and what is worth purchasing? The book itself was largely enjoyable. Reese and I disagree about the difficulty/hassle level of some things (e.g. fried chicken isn't that hard? Although technically I usually assist Will when he makes it...), but overall I had heard about this book on public radio years ago and then was never able to find it until recently. The premise appeals *directly* to my heart/soul: taking taste, effort, time, and money into account what food items are worth making yourself and what is worth purchasing? The book itself was largely enjoyable. Reese and I disagree about the difficulty/hassle level of some things (e.g. fried chicken isn't that hard? Although technically I usually assist Will when he makes it...), but overall it was a fun read that I photocopied some recipes from. Would recommend, with the caveat that Reese is occasionally annoying (e.g. multiple instances of me saying "I don't know what you were expecting" out loud).

  24. 4 out of 5

    victoria.p

    Maybe 3.5 really? The anecdotes are mostly funny but the advice is hit or miss to me, given some of the large hassles for small savings (and I do make my own bread and bake my own cakes most of the time). At least the author does lay it out right up front that this is not a book to help you pinch pennies or if you're on a strict food budget, but is for middle class suburban women who want to avoid a lot of processed food.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mckenna Clarke

    I’m so happy a book like this exists. Though I will never ever make homemade mayonnaise, homemade hotdogs, or homemade prosciutto, I’m glad that the author did and that she wrote this laugh-out-loud funny book about how it went. Because of this book, I’m going to try making homemade yogurt and granola. I didn’t realize how easy it could be!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brett Larter

    If Kaitlin comes home one day and I’m either making fresh biscuits by hand or feeding a baby goat out of a bottle this book will be to blame.

  27. 4 out of 5

    anklecemetery

    I read this as much for the bagel recipe as I do for Reese’s chatty, comforting stories.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Terry Southard

    Completely enjoyable read, even if I never make the stuff she says is worth making.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Such a fun cookbook to read. While I doubt I will actually raise goats and make cheese, this book made me feel like I could. I'll be making my own vanilla extract going forward though.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Naticia

    Practical and entertaining, I might not make many of these recipes but I definitely enjoyed reading this, and will likely be referring to it regularly.

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