From the publisher: 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.
I learned about this book a week or so ago and automatically added it to my wish list. See, I have a desire to homestead, to become self-sufficient. I would love to be able to go off the grid, but currently these are dreams. However, I try to make a lot of our food from scratch. While saving money is one reason, the other is that I know what is IN the food. And it tastes better. I'm someone who believes that organic is better for you and that GMOs are bad for you. (We don't buy much organic because we don't have access to it or a lot of $$ to buy it. If I wanted more, I'd have to take a two hour drive, which really isn't in the cards until the kids are older.)
I tend to make my own bread, especially during the winter. If you don't know how beautiful a home smells as a few loaves of bread are baking away in the oven, you need to find a recipe online and go and make a loaf. Now. (Seriously, it's easier than you think!) And it tastes way better than store-bought bread. Plus, flour is crazy cheap here. I can get a 10kg (22lb) bag for about $8-$13! I don't think I can touch that back home in the US. I did give making my own butter a go. It's quite easy, actually! A mason jar with lid, some whipping cream, and about ten minutes of shaking and you have yourself some beautiful butter with yummy buttermilk that makes even yummier pancakes. However, after you factor the cost of the cream compared to a pound of butter, it's about the same (at least here for me in Manitoba, Canada). Getting all the buttermilk out of the butter is my challenge and is the main reason why I don't make my own butter more often.
I'm very curious to see the outcome of what is more cost effective. I have recently admitted defeat with trying to keep up with the home, a husband, the two little ones, trying to have a little "me" time (books/blogging), and trying to figure out how to finish my university courses. There's more store-bought stuff in the house. And maybe reading this book will make me feel a bit better that I'm doing it!
The link to the author's blog, The Tipsy Baker.