I read a cookbook every year or so, but I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've really reviewed one. Make the Bread, Buy the Butter is part cookbook, part memoir, and was so fun to read that my husband finished it before I did. Reese has a homey, humorous style, and some of her escapades reminded me of my friends who are/were raising chickens and bees and ducks and sheep. Most of her writing centers around a time when she was between jobs and decided that surely she could make most foods at home cheaper (and better) than their store-bought counterparts. She learned that some things are just too hard or too messy or too expensive to make at home. And that many things are far, far cheaper to make -- like vanilla extract, which she made 12 ounces of for $7, while the equivalent amount at the store would be more than $50. She provides the math on major brands versus these recipes, and also a note on how much hassle is involved in making each thing.
I smiled a lot while reading this, and laughed a few times. I also copied down nine recipes to try myself, recipes for such varied things as vanilla extract, clotted cream, hummus, and truffles. The chocolate kind, not the mushroom kind. I haven't tried any of the recipes yet, but when I do, I'll try to remember to comment on this post with a note or two on how they go. I'm especially eager to try the clotted cream, as I've read a lot of books about people living in England and eating clotted cream on their scones while drinking tea. I'd quite like to try that.
I learned about this book on Emily Coleman's blog Classics and Beyond, and you can read her review of it (and some of the recipes) here.