Barbara's Product Reviews & Giveaways

October 16, 2012 5:28 PM

Make the Bread, Buy the Butter

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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, 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.

Love this book - I'm feeling very challenged to make more things myself.  For instance, Jennifer Reese points out that a flour tortilla - which tastes so much yummier than store-bought - costs 10 cents to make as opposed to 25. 

On the other hand, there's the time factor.  And Jennifer Reese understands that.

For everything from onion dip to grapenuts to chocolates, she walks readers through the process, weighing the hassle factor and cost comparison and talking through her conclusions.  For instance, she recommends buying a turkey, but only after killing, plucking and cleaning one herself - which itself is the ending of a funny story.

Some things will surprise you:

hot dog buns
chocolate cake
eggs benedict
dill pickles
cured meats
whipped cream

hamburger buns
hot dogs
coffee liqueur
rice pudding
corn dogs
English muffins
ice cream cones

roasted chicken
cream cheese
onion rings
graham crackers

This book is fun to read and packed with food for thought (no pun intended.  I am reading mine cover to cover to see what new things I might learn from Someone who isn't just talking the talk, but walking the walk.

Through the generosity of Free Press, I also have two to give away.  Please leave a comment for a drawing 10/29.

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I'm always trying new recipes. This book is right up my alley!

Posted by: Tammy | October 16, 2012 9:35 PM

Love it! This sounds eerily like my life!! I would love to know what things are actually better to do yourself, and which are a waste of time and energy... I have a few of my own ideas and would love to compare.

Posted by: Nana | October 17, 2012 9:28 AM

Love it! This sounds eerily like my life!! I would love to know what things are actually better to do yourself, and which are a waste of time and energy... I have a few of my own ideas and would love to compare.

Posted by: Linda | October 17, 2012 9:28 AM

This sounds so fascinating! I would love to read it.

Posted by: Adrienne | October 17, 2012 2:45 PM

This book sounds fascinating. I try to make many things from scratch, but the time factor is starting to become a bigger part of my life.

Posted by: Alison S. | October 17, 2012 2:46 PM

Sounds like a fun book - I'm curious to read why she came up to some of her conclusions. Especially after seeing the chart you included - I would never have thought buying rice pudding would be the suggested option. Really?

Posted by: Sheila | October 17, 2012 3:00 PM

Sounds like it has some great ideas! If I don't use them all, my daughter and/or daughter-in-law probably would!

Posted by: Grandma Alice | October 17, 2012 3:06 PM

I would love this!

Posted by: Kelly | October 17, 2012 3:08 PM

My daughter already makes so much--she would love this book.

Posted by: Kelly | October 17, 2012 3:15 PM

This looks like a fun book for when we do homeschool cooking math!

Posted by: MaryG | October 17, 2012 3:37 PM

Would LOVE to add this to my collection!

Posted by: Carol | October 17, 2012 3:45 PM

Sounds awesome!

Posted by: Sandra | October 17, 2012 5:03 PM

I love making things from scratch just to try it out, this book sounds right up my alley!

Posted by: silver | October 17, 2012 8:39 PM

Count me in.

Posted by: Danielle | October 17, 2012 10:55 PM

Something that is always on my mind! Living on one income while homeschooling has already had me scrimping and stretching dollars and cooking from scratch. Add to that a health restriction for one of my kids and my husband being unemployed I find myself overwhelmed by trying to make everything from scratch to save a buck! Especially being pregnant and TIRED! ;) LOL

Posted by: Amy | October 18, 2012 2:04 AM

Oh what a wonderful book! We have been experimenting with homemade pizza, sauces, and breads and trying to avoid preservatives and other unnecessary ingredients so this is perfect.

Posted by: Shaina | October 18, 2012 3:32 AM

Sounds fun :)

Posted by: Jessi | October 18, 2012 9:27 AM

Sounds like a very interesting book!

Posted by: Elissa | October 18, 2012 9:59 AM

I love this idea for the book. I wonder why it's better to make the hot dog buns but not the hamburger buns.

Posted by: Sue from Buffalo | October 18, 2012 11:35 AM

This sounds awesome!!

Posted by: Emily | October 18, 2012 1:09 PM

This is very much on my mind lately...please enter me in the drawing for this one.

Posted by: Chrissy | October 18, 2012 5:21 PM

I like making things from scratch (tonight we had homemade naan!) so this would be a great book to use as a reference!

Posted by: Addie | October 18, 2012 10:12 PM

This looks neat!

Posted by: Karen | October 18, 2012 10:24 PM

This book sounds very useful ! Thanks !

Posted by: dee | October 19, 2012 10:45 AM

Yes, please!

Posted by: Denise | October 19, 2012 1:38 PM

fun!... & this entry made me make a fridge run for some rice pudding ;)

Posted by: Melanie | October 19, 2012 6:09 PM

Oh I wonder about stuff like this all the time. Sounds like a great book!

Posted by: Elizabeth | October 19, 2012 8:13 PM

I have a family member who would love this!

Posted by: d | October 20, 2012 3:08 PM

This sounds like a great book. I have often wondered if some things were better buy than make. It would be great to see what the author concludes.

Posted by: Susan | October 20, 2012 10:06 PM

I think this book is so clever! I often do wonder if I'm really saving myself any money (or if it's WORTH my time) by DIYing so many things. And now somebody has the answers! :)

h4schaffer at gmail dot com

Posted by: Heather! | October 22, 2012 8:44 AM

This book looks great!!!

Posted by: katie Nohl | October 22, 2012 12:01 PM

I'm glad someone took the time to do this. It's always a question in my mind. I would love to have this book.

Posted by: Joy | October 22, 2012 6:21 PM

We have been making more homemade food than ever these last few years! I would lobe this!

Posted by: Eileen | October 23, 2012 2:02 PM

This looks like a fun book, and I have wondered about these things as well.

Posted by: JoanP | October 23, 2012 5:46 PM

LOVE cookbooks and books about food!

Posted by: Angie W | October 24, 2012 10:41 AM

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