Yesterday I picked up this terrific little book called Make the Bread, Buy the Butter. In snappy, no-nonsense prose Jennifer Reese (author) makes the compelling case that economy should trump romance when it comes to the “homemade” life.
Like a lot of us, her journey began with loss of income. After being laid off she chose to “economize by doing for herself what she had previously paid for.” Her book is filled with insights and anecdotes about her family, kitchen & garden, but what I love most about it (and what makes it unique in the realm of DIY home making books) is her collection of experiments and data. She does what I have never been successful at – breaking down homemade food production into dollars and cents – then offering her opinion as to whether is is cost-effective to either Make It or Buy It.
The author dishes on cheese making, killing chickens, keeping bees, making peanut butter and curing meat. She also shares recipes for making oreo cookies, glazed donuts and marshmallows. How refreshing! Absent from Ms. Reese’s story is the romantic hipster-ism of many current urban homesteading manuals. Also absent is any hard commitment to organics, food politics or “prepper” self-reliance. This is her story, her family’s shopping list, and her research into the monetary cost of homemade foods. I may not agree with every opinion she shares, but I certainly appreciate the spirit and frankness of her insights.
As I stare at the cauliflower waiting to be pickled on my butcher block table, the jar waiting for another batch of homemade peanut butter to fill it, the dregs of bread-butts reminding me it’s time for baking again… none of these things compel me to forgo the work it takes to make these things at home. But I am certainly rethinking the goats-for-milk plan and am grateful that making butter isn’t currently on my to-do list.
That’s it for now. Thanks for stopping by!