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  • Published: New York : Free Press, 2011.
  • Year Published: 2011
  • Edition: 1st Free Press hardcover ed.
  • Description: viii, 295 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
  • Language: English
  • Format: Book

ISBN/Standard Number

  • 9781451605877
  • 1451605870


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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

by Reese, Jennifer.

There are currently 3 available

Where To Find It

Call number: 641.3 Re

Available Copies: Downtown 2nd Floor, Pittsfield Adult

Additional Details

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

"Does becoming part of the home cooking movement mean cooking everything from scratch? According to Jennifer Reese, known as The Tipsy Baker to her online foodie following, there are plenty of products that you should buy at the store. Make your own bread, for instance, but buy the butter--making butter takes too long and doesn't taste better. Jennifer Reese's popular cost-benefit experiments became the most emailed story on Slate for a week, and this book brings her conscientious, frugal-chic approach to 120 food staples in a narrative with recipes that explores the homemade life"

Reviews & Summaries

Community Reviews

Laugh Out Loud Cookbook

You don’t expect a cookbook to make you laugh out loud, but that’s exactly what Jennifer Reese‘s Make the Bread, Buy the Butter did to me. Reese is a practical homemaker, humorous writer, and a daredevil in the kitchen.

Inspired by the discovery that frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a thing that exist, she launches a “make it or buy it” examination of foods from butter to vanilla extract. Reese makes foods I’ve never thought of as homemade – vanilla extract being one example. She says she’ll try anything – and she does. She ranges from tamer experiments, like making bagels and yogurt from scratch, to kitchen adventures that take some real guts, like raising and slaughtering chickens and curing her own bacon.

I like a lot of things about this cookbook, but what I enjoyed the most are the introductions to each chapter and to each recipe. The author sets the stage for each new food foray and her self-deprecating humor is pretty hilarious. I laughed out loud at the passage when her husband discovered she’d bought chickens to raise. She’s honest about when she takes shortcuts, when a recipe just isn’t worth the work, and when her kids tell her she’s nuts.

Another plus is how the book is laid out. For each recipe, she answers the question asked in the title: make it or buy it? She also offers a cost breakdown between supermarket brands and homemade. If you weren’t motivated to make your own cocoa mix or Hollandaise sauce when you turned to that page, you might change your mind after reading her cost and taste comparisons.

I’ve recommended this cookbook to even my most kitchen-challenged friends. I think it’s as pleasant to just read and enjoy as it is to cook from. It’s clear that Reese simply believes food should taste good and she doesn’t discriminate about foods like potato chips (buy them) and hot dog buns (make them).
Read it for the fun of it and you might surprise yourself with what recipes you end up wanting to try out for yourself.


It was refreshing to see someone admit that some things are just too hard to make at home, or disproportionately expensive. A fun, lighthearted examination of what's worth making at home.

Entertaining and practical

I found myself laughing out loud at Reese's anecdotes about her adventures in suburban farming, and also shopping for cheesemaking supplies. The recipes, all rated for "hassle" and "cost-effectiveness" (comparisons are made to both supermarket brands and high-end organic groceries where appropriate), sound delicious - there are a few I think I will absolutely have to try.

Neat cookbook

Thoroughly enjoyed reading this and imagining making everyday foods we take for granted as always being available at the grocery story.

Food for Thought

What I enjoyed most about this book is that author wrote honestly about her experiences and gave her opinions in such a way that left the reader open to making their own decisions about how to incorporate any and all of her ideas. Many items reminded me of my childhood with my Grandmother and how she fed her family with many of the ideas in this book.

great ideas!

This book is full of great ideas for cooking things from scratch. Loved it! Very useful.

Great How-To

Wonderful book. Very instructive without being condensending. I will certainly look for futhur books from this author.

DIY food for beginners

I loved this book! This is a great choice for folks who are interested in making things from scratch, but who are also balancing this desire against a busy life. Reese has a pleasant tone and will not make you feel guilty about the things you're not making for yourself. Not every thing that she does is for everyone, but this book could help you figure out which things are right for your own DIY lifestyle.

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