Make the bread, buy the butter by / Jennifer Reese
March 10, 2012 1 Comment
Title: Make the bread, buy the butter : what you should and shouldn’t cook from scratch–over 120 recipes for the best homemade foods
Author: Jennifer Reese
Collection: Adult Non-Fiction
Like many of us, Jennifer Reese is a devoted fan of author Michael Pollan, and as such, she has become aghast at the modern American attitude to food and food production. She wonders why is it that we are so eager to buy and consume large quantities of ready-made foods that are at once really bad for us and generally more expensive than making them ourselves. What’s more, they often taste far worse than their homemade equivalent. However, Reese is also a realist and a working mother of two. She recognizes that sometimes it just isn’t practical to make everything ourselves. So when she loses her job, she decides to use her time wisely to find out which foods are worthwhile to make oneself and which ones aren’t. She pulls out all the stops, growing a massive garden, raising chickens, goats, and even bees in her backyard, and making nearly everything from scratch that her family eats, even down to hot dog buns and marshmallows. Then, she shares her discoveries with us. In this delightfully pragmatic cookbook, Reese uses three basic yardsticks: how expensive an item is to make, how much hassle it is, and how it tastes. She compares her results to common store-bought or restaurant versions and recommends making the item yourself or buying it. If something is cheaper to make than to buy, but she isn’t able to get it to taste as good or if it is a lot of work to produce, she recommends buying it. On the other hand, if it tastes better and requires little effort, she recommends making it, even if it is slightly more expensive to do so, although it hardly ever is. Best of all, she relates the circumstances surrounding her attempt at each recipe. Her stories are heartfelt and funny enough to keep me reading the book even if I had no interest in cooking any of her delicious dishes. But first, I need to stop and make the caramel popcorn in chapter 7. Mmmmm!