When professional journalist Jennifer Reese lost her job, she felt inspired to begin economizing and turned her eye to food. Which items are cheaper to buy and which are cheaper to make? When is the homemade version of a food healthier and tastier than the store bought version? Is a store bought product ever superior to a homemade one? Soon Reese’s curiosity morphed into a series of large scale undertakings, attempting new recipes and making forays into animal husbandry. After a few years of experimentation, Reese was able to write 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 is a fun read, even if you have no desire to make your own peanut butter, marshmallows, pastrami, or ginger ale. Reese’s humor shines through as she describes her efforts to raise chickens, keep bees, and make cheese. When analyzing each “make it yourself” endeavor, Reese gives a recommendation on whether she thinks the item is better to make or buy, indicates how much hassle is involved in the production process, and does a cost comparison taking in both the outlay of supplies and time.
Not sure you’re up for any of these projects? Don’t worry about feeling guilty! Reese is never preachy and fully recognizes that making your own food staples is not going to solve anyone’s financial problems. In her introduction, she states that these projects are best left to people who enjoy “messing around in the kitchen.” If that’s you, or if you wish that was you, you’ll likely find Make the Bread, Buy the Butter to be an amusing, enlightening read.