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

Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese
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Jun 07, 12

Read in April, 2012

The subtitle of this book is “What You Should and Shouldn’t Cook from Scratch — Over 120 Recipes for the Best Homemade Foods,” and while lots of the recipes looked delicious (and the few I tried were exceedingly popular in my household), my favourite part of this book was the commentary about what foods are worth cooking up at home, and what foods should just be purchased instead.

Jennifer Reese is a funny and articulate writer, but more importantly, she is a dedicated do-it-yourself-er who sets out to try homemade versions of just about anything she can think of. I think most of us who try to live sustainable city lives can relate to her struggles to figure out where to draw the line in terms of self-sufficiency. In this book, she balances cost, effort and taste when deciding which foods are best made at home and which can be left to specialists. Each recipe is rated based on the amount of hassle it takes, the tastiness of the results and a cost comparison between store-bought and homemade.

I was stoked that Reese really spares no effort to thoroughly research her decisions. She keeps bees, unsuccessfully experiments with keeping ducks in her laundry room, cures her own meat, makes her own hot dogs (verdict: not worth it, in case you were wondering), makes a ridiculous amount of different cheeses, and keeps chickens and goats (“If rather than a lush green garden, you want your outdoor space to resemble a Third World village, I suggest getting some chickens, who will methodically denude the landscape of every blade of grass, low-lying weed, and wildflower. And if you want to ride yourself of shrubbery and small trees as well, get goats.”). She lives in a regular suburban neighbourhood, so her experiments are relatable for lots of us city dwellers, and I like her enthusiasm and willingness to experiment. You get the sense reading this book that she is trying out all these different techniques for getting her food because she is excited about doing it, not because she wants to write a gimmicky book.
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