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Cookbook review: Make the Bread, Buy the Butter

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I’ve been meaning to tell you about this cookbook for awhile. For all those of you out there who are raising chickens, pickling, and making your own crackers, you’ll find good wit and wisdom in “Make the Bread, Buy the Butter” by Jennifer Reese (Free Press, October 2011, $24).

Having chickens cluck in the yard and filling your pantry with preserves that you picked and canned yourself is rewarding – but is it worth all the time battling persistent bugs and rodents just to say, “I made this sauce with heirloom tomatoes I grew myself”?

Reese, who blogs at www.tipsybaker.com, took on an ambitious project when she applied her journalistic skills to figure out what is worth making at home (croutons), what is worth attempting for the experience (Camembert cheese), and what is an accomplishment but a true pain in the rear (prosciutto).

 “You don’t have to meekly accept what Safe or Stop ‘n’ Shop has to offer,” says Reese. “Cooking is easy and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. On the other hand, don’t feel guilty when you buy something delicious that happens to come from a supermarket. Lays potato chips are better than any chips I’ve ever made by standing over a cauldron of hot oil. The perfectionist homespun/do-it-yourself/urban farming ethic some of us are susceptible to can become rather enslaving. I’m all about the middle ground. I’ve just tried to figure out exactly where that is.”

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