Friday, November 18, 2011

review: make the bread, buy the butter by jennifer reese

Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese is part cookbook, part memoir. Reese begins by discussing Smucker’s Uncrustables (a frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwich) and the arbitrary lines that are drawn regarding food. She writes, “Not so long ago, people must have wondered who couldn’t fry her own donuts, grind her own sausage, cure her own bacon.” From this introduction Reese sets about determining what’s best to make at home and what should be bought at the store. As she runs through a number of recipes for everything from peanut butter to steak tartare, Reese shares her experiences, including building a chicken coop. I immensely enjoyed reading about her adventures and was thrilled that she determined a number of things aren’t really worth the time and effort when the professionals can do it. I did sometimes question how she made her determinations though. Some made perfect sense, such as buying your Thanksgiving turkey rather than raising and killing it yourself; others like burritos were a little less clear. Although Reese says people should make their own quesadillas, she says burritos are “essentially fast food” not worth the prep work unless someone already makes a lot of Mexican food. I wholeheartedly disagree.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Free Press.

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