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Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn't Cook from Scratch--Over 120 Recipes for the Best Homemade Foods


Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn't Cook from Scratch--Over 120 Recipes for the Best Homemade Foods Cover

ISBN13: 9781451605877
ISBN10: 1451605870
Condition: Standard
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Make the Bread, Buy the Butter andlt;link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="../styles/9781451605891.css"andgt; andlt;link rel="stylesheet" type="application/vnd.adobe-page-template+xml" href="../styles/page-template.xpgt"andgt; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;img width="100%" src="../images/common3.jpg" alt="images"andgt;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;h2 andgt;andlt;a id="page_1"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;andlt;a id="intro"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;INTRODUCTIONandlt;/h2andgt; andlt;BRandgt;Boil peanuts until tender; remove hulls in cold water; mash. Season with buttr [sic] and salt; When cold spread between slices of bread. Good for school lunch.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;and#8212;Los Angeles Times Cookbook, No. 2, 1905andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Until recently, I never considered making my own peanut butter. Skippy was good enough for me.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Until recently, I never considered buying a frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I hadnand#8217;t even known such a thing existed. I first read about Smuckerand#8217;s popular frozen peanut butter sandwichand#8212;the Uncrustableand#8212;in a New York Times Magazine article by (of course) Michael Pollan. He wrote, and#8220;People think nothing of buying frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for their childrenand#8217;s lunch boxes.and#8221; I thought: They donand#8217;t? What people? What frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Whatand#8217;s next, frozen buttered toast?andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;I felt briefly smug in the certainty that I was not so lazy or compromised that I would ever buy mass-produced peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Then I thought, People probably once said that about peanut butter. And bread. And jelly. They almost certainly said it about waffles, and pie crust, and pudding. Not so long ago, people must have wondered who couldnand#8217;t fry her own donuts, grind her own sausage, cure her own bacon. Kill her own bacon! The more I thought about it, the more arbitrary it seemed to draw a line in the sand at the frozen PBand#38;J.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Yet drawing and redrawing just such arbitrary lines had become one of my primary preoccupations in recent years. The most irksome decisions I faced as an adult and working andlt;a id="page_2"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;mother seemed to be made at the supermarket. Fundamentally trivial, they were nonetheless maddeningly fraught, involving questions of time, quality, money, First World guilt, maternal guilt, gender, meaning, and health. I had only to step through those automatic Safeway doors for the nattering mental calculations to begin: Owen needs cupcakes for school and look, here they are, ready to go, packed in clamshells. Nutritionally irredeemableand#8212;but made. Sixteen dollars for twenty-four supermarket trans-fat packed cupcakes? Good grief. Iand#8217;ll bake. That means I need eggs and the eggs here sure are cheap. But I canand#8217;t buy them here because these eggs are laid by debeaked chickens living in cages the size of Tic Tac boxes. If only Iand#8217;d gone to the farmersand#8217; market on Sunday and bought eggs there and#8230; But how do I know that guy treats his chickens well just because the eggs are blue? And honestly, do I even really care about chickens? I canand#8217;t believe Iand#8217;m spending three dollars per pound for these crunchy tomatoes. I should grow them, just like Barbara Kingsolver. How does she find the time to make her own cheese and breed her own heritage turkeys and write books? I need to work harder, sleep less, never watch TV again. Wait, thereand#8217;s high-fructose corn syrup in Campbelland#8217;s vegetable soup? Isnand#8217;t that supposed to be a deal breaker?andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Every choice I made was loaded, and every choice I made was wrong. The mental conversation was circular and chronically irritating and I couldnand#8217;t seem to shut it down.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Then I lost my job.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Instantly, I was stabbed with the predictable financial anxiety, which I attended to by taking an overdue video back to the video store and calling my husband to make sure that he still had his job. It was 2008 and a lot of people were losing their jobs. I made myself a cup of tea and walked out the back door of our house and sat on the steps leading down to our unkempt suburban yard, strewn with deflated soccer balls and broken deck chairs and gravel. The sky had fallen, yet there it was, vast and blue above me. A few end-of-the-season red apples weighted down the branches of our tree. I thought, I should really pick those, before the squirrels get them. I can make applesauce. I can make apple butter. I can make chutney. Who needs a job when you have an apple tree? They didnand#8217;t have jobs in Little House in the Big Woods.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Even as I thought this, sitting on my steps, I knew it to be completely ridiculous. A job is more valuable than an apple tree. People canand#8217;t live on applesauce and no one even likes chutney. Plus, I hate canning.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;And yet a question lodged in the forefront of my mind. Where is that sweet spot between buying and making? What does the market do cheaper and better? And where are we being deceived, our tastes and habits and standards corrupted? Could I answer this andlt;a id="page_3"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;question once and for all? I didnand#8217;t want an answer rooted in ideology, or politics, or tradition, or received wisdom. I wanted to see the question answered empirically, taking into account the competing demandsand#8212;time and meaning, quality and conscience, budget and healthand#8212;of everyday American family life.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;And so, over the next months and years, I got some chickens, which I loved; and some ducks, which I loathed; and some turkeys, which we slaughtered. I learned to make cheese and keep bees and worried that the neighbors were going to call Animal Control. I cured bacon and salmon, canned ketchup, baked croissants, and made vanilla extract and graham crackers. I planted tomatillos and potatoes and melons and squash. My son, Owen, joined 4-H and practically moved into the yard, while my teenage daughter, Isabel, refused to step outside the back door at all, especially after the goats turned up. My husband, Mark, rolled his eyes at all of it except the homemade yogurt. That, he ate by the quart. At the heightand#8212;or maybe it was the depthsand#8212;of my homemaking experiment, I had pickles lacto-fermenting on the counter and seven varieties of jam, ranging from banana-chocolate to plum, arrayed in the pantry, and absinthe and Taleggio cheese mellowing in the crawl space behind my closet. I was overwhelmed and a bit of a mess, but I had my answers.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;h3 andgt;PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY SANDWICHandlt;/h3andgt; andlt;BRandgt;Letand#8217;s get back to the PBand#38;J. One day, I bought some Uncrustables, the Smuckerand#8217;s frozen sandwiches, which come in a carton decorated with a quaint gingham check. Then I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich the usual way, which took less time than finding the car keys to drive to buy the Uncrustables. Unwrapped, Uncrustables do not look like sandwiches, but like dainty white turnovers with sealed, crimped edges. They look wonderful, the bread downy and soft and white as a stack of Kleenex.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;I took a bite. The jelly was gelatinous and supersweet, as in a jelly donut, one of my favorite foods. I loved it. The second bite was less delightfuland#8212;a bit cloying and yet oddly desiccated. By the third bite, I was done. This was a stupid little sandwich.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;Itand#8217;s like the peanut butter is a solid mass,and#8221; said Isabel, then twelve years old, plucking out a flat shard of tan paste and holding it up for inspection. and#8220;Look, itand#8217;s a thing.and#8221;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;The homemade peanut butter and jelly sandwich, on the other hand, was luscious and sloppy and extravagant and fresh, and it easily carried the day. If this is the best Smuckerand#8217;s can do, I thought, civilization is safe.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;a id="page_4"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;I assumed that the Uncrustables would turn out to be a bargain. Isnand#8217;t the whole point of industrial food that it is cheap? Well, cheap to make, maybe, but not all that cheap to buy. This fact has repeatedly taken me by surprise, though it probably shouldnand#8217;t have. Inferior mass-produced food often costs moreand#8212;and sometimes quite a bit moreand#8212;than homemade food. The homemade sandwich cost fifty-one cents and was roughly twice the size of the wee Uncrustable, which priced out at sixty-three cents.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;There is market research that answers the question of who buys these expensive sandwiches when it is so easy and inexpensive to make one at home. Just to show how loaded this subject of food can be, how much socioeconomic and gender baggage we attach to the shopping and production of what we eat, Iand#8217;ll describe the and#8220;researchand#8221; that I performed in my own brain while standing in my kitchen. Who buys Uncrustables? I saw a woman in a peach velour tracksuit with a Kate Gosselin haircut loading up her cart at a big-box supermarket. She appeared pouty and spoiled and indolent, someone who would recline on the sofa watching Real Housewives and eating fat-free bonbons rather than make her kidsand#8217; sandwiches. A mother who buys Uncrustables: bad mother.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Then I tried to picture a man buying a box of Uncrustables. He came to me just as instantly and fully formed. A widower, he pushed a cart through the IGA after a long day of honest toil, perhaps in the construction trade. He wore a rumpled flannel shirt and looked a lot like Aidan Quinn. He was noble and long-suffering, a devoted dad, out there shopping for his kidsand#8217; food when he deserved to put his feet up and crack open a cold one. He needed to meet a really nice woman, someone just like me, except single.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;I thought this. I was appalled at myself.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;a id="lev1"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;PEANUT BUTTERandlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Until I actually did it, I thought you had to be compulsive and controlling to grind your own peanut butter. But it turns out to be almost as worthwhile as making your own PBand#38;Js. (Though not quite.) Home-ground peanut butter is nubbly, rich, intensely peanutty. Mass-market brands like Jif and Skippy have been sweetened and homogenized to the point where they resemble peanut-flavored Crisco. I still love Jif and will almost surely buy it again, but homemade is better next time you have seven minutes to spare.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;a id="page_5"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;Make it or buy it? Make it.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Hassle: Scantandlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Cost comparison: Per cup, homemade peanut butter is 80 percent the price of Jif.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;and#160;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;1 pound unsalted roasted peanuts, shelled and skinnedandlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;2 tablespoons oil (preferably peanut)andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Saltandlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;and#160;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;1. Put the peanuts and oil in a food processor or blender and grind until you have a creamy paste. Add more oil if necessary to thin. Make this peanut butter a little thinner than you think it should be, as it will firm up a lot in the refrigerator.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;2. Salt to taste. Store in a jar in the refrigerator for several months.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Makes 2 cupsandlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Now what about the bread? What about the jelly? What about all of it?andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;A few caveats before we get started. First, although, like most people, I think about money, Iand#8217;ve always been able to clothe my children and pay the mortgage and if I couldnand#8217;t, whether I bought or made crand#232;me fraand#238;cheand#8212;or bread, to use a less absurd exampleand#8212;would make no difference. It is frivolous and deluded to think it would. I just wanted to address and answer some middle-class home economics questions that nagged my Michael Pollanand#8211;reading, price-checking, overthinking self. This is not a book about how to scrape by on a budget and it is not a book about how to go off the grid.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Second, prices of food vary from day to day, shop to shop, region to region. I did my best to price ingredients consistently and accurately as of late 2010 and early 2011, but the prices you see here might not always reflect what you pay, where you live, today.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;When I started this project I had a lot of time on my handsand#8212;more than Iand#8217;d ever had before as an adult. A lot of these projects are very ambitious, and Iand#8217;ve tried to make clear which are particularly time consuming. But when youand#8217;re exhausted and overworked, even the simplest kitchen joband#8212;even mixing a jar of salad dressingand#8212;can seem like too much. When I say and#8220;make it,and#8221; I mean that when you have the time and the inclination, the recipe andlt;a id="page_6"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;in question is something you can do better, and/or more cheaply, than the supermarket. By no means do I think everyone should make all (or even any) of these foods, all of the time. I sure donand#8217;t.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Moreover, if you donand#8217;t enjoy messing around in the kitchen, you probably arenand#8217;t going to end up making your own Camembert and pancetta, despite the fact that theyand#8217;re better and cheaper than what you can buy. Nor should you. As my son, Owen, said one dayand#8212;a little spitefullyand#8212;while he was reluctantly doing his homework and I was happily stuffing pot stickers, and#8220;Mom, I think if you didnand#8217;t like to cook weand#8217;d eat canned soup every night.and#8221;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;He is right.

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Virginia Campbell, October 19, 2011 (view all comments by Virginia Campbell)
Make the Bread, Buy the Butter", by Jennifer Reese, is a fabulous, fascinating find for foodies! This is an entertaining encyclopedia of the pros and cons of making food from scratch rather than automatically buying it ready-made at the store. While I didn't always agree with the opinions and personal choices of Jennifer Reese, I have a tremendous respect for her expertise and love of subject. She writes with a sharp wit and a deglamorized, revealing look at her own life. This book is chock-full of delicious recipes and offers great insight into what is practical and what is not worth the trouble when it comes to preparing many of our favorite foods. The numerous references from popular American culture add extra emphasis to many of the observations made by Ms. Reese. This lady has mucho moxie! I am now a follower of her popular weblog, "The Tipsy Baker". I plan to try quite a few of the recipes in the book, especially "Skippy's Apricot Cake"--a simple recipe using a lemon cake mix enriched by the addition of apricot nectar. Sounds tangy-sweet and terrific, and my taste buds wait in impatient anticipation!

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Product Details

What You Should and Shouldn't Cook from Scratch -- Over 120 Recipes for the Best Homemade Foods
Reese, Jennifer
Atria Books
Culinary Arts & Techniques
Cooking and Food-Miscellaneous Methods
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
8.19 x 7.25 in

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Cooking and Food » Diet and Nutrition » Healthy Cooking
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Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn't Cook from Scratch--Over 120 Recipes for the Best Homemade Foods Used Hardcover
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Product details 304 pages Free Press - English 9781451605877 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Known to her online foodie following as The Tipsy Baker, Jennifer Reese brings a realistic—and very funny—perspective to the homemade trend, testing whether to make from scratch or simply buy over 100 foods, in what is destined to become the new go-to reference for home cooks.

When Jennifer Reese lost her job as the book critic for Entertainment Weekly, she was overcome by an impulse common among the recently unemployed: to economize by doing for herself what she had previously paid for. And so began a series of kitchen-related experiments with the practical purpose of breaking down whether it makes sense to make household staples—or just pick them up at the corner store.

By no means straight kitchen science, Make the Bread, Buy the Butter tells the often funny stories surrounding these experiments and offers a full picture of what is involved in a truly homemade life. On the practical side, Reese asks a handful of questions about each item to decide whether to make or buy: Is homemade better? Cheaper? How much of a hassle is it to make? And what about sustainability and animal welfare—what value should we place on knowing that our eggs came from happy chickens, for example? Is it somehow ennobling to slaughter your rooster yourself? Full of recipes and featuring an extensive chart at the end that summarizes the make-versus-buy status of every food, this eminently practical yet deliciously fun book reminds readers that they don’t have to do everything by hand—and shows how to get the most out of your time in the kitchen.

"Synopsis" by , A lively, frugal-chic answer to the question "Make or Buy" about 120 different food staples.
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