Make the Bread, Buy the Butter…

… Read this book!

I have spent the past few weeks devouring Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn’t Cook from Scratch—Over 120 Recipes for the Best Homemade Foods by Jennifer Reese (who blogs at The Tipsy Baker). My husband heard it featured on NPR, I checked our online catalog to see if it was available, and when I saw we didn’t own it yet, I requested the title. A librarian waved her magic wand and it appeared on the holds shelf for me. You can’t beat service like this! Full disclosure: I work here too and I really like my coworkers.

Enough of that, let me tell you why you must read this book. Do you eat? Do you read? Do you cook? If you meet any of these qualifications, you will enjoy this book. The author is on a quest to determine which foods are worth making from scratch. She shares honest assessments of the hassle factor, the cost, and, of course, the taste.

Eaters, reading about food is surprising enticing. And learning about food and how it is created (either the homemade way or the not-so-homemade way) is fascinating. You will probably decide to eat some new things after reading this book. And there are some others you just might take a permanent pass on.

Readers, Jennifer is hilarious! You could sit down and read this book just for fun. I used to be one of those people who could only fathom reading fiction for entertainment. I gradually dipped my toe into the non-fiction pool as various interest popped up in my life but Ms. Reese has blended the best of both worlds. Her book is very informative and useful and you will walk away with recipes you must try but even better it is laugh-out-loud funny. You should check it out just to read the chapter on chickens (for eggs). Or the one on goats (for milk for cheese-making). I quote:

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 rid yourself of shrubbery and small trees as well, get goats. Very soon you will have the adobe patio of your dreams.

Cooks and kitchen experimenters of all kinds, this is the book to inspire you. No matter what your skill level, there is bound to be a recipe that intrigues you in here. I have already started experimenting with making my own hummus from dried chickpeas. Never before in my life have I known exactly what to do with a dried bean type food. Now I do! Next up: getting over my fear of yeast and trying her Everyday Bread recipe, making my own caramel corn, and whipping together my own peanut butter.

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