Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese

By SMW Staff

Have you ever asked yourself, when is homemade better? Cheaper?

Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer ReeseWhen Jennifer Reese lost her job, she was overcome by an impulse common among the recently unemployed: to economize by doing for herself what she had previously paid for. She had never before considered making her own peanut butter and pita bread, let alone curing her own prosciutto or raising turkeys. And though it sounded logical that “doing it yourself” would cost less, she had her doubts. So Reese began a series of kitchen-related experiments, taking into account the competing demands of everyday contemporary American family life as she answers some timely questions:  When is homemade better? Cheaper? Are backyard eggs a more ethical choice than store-bought? Will grinding and stuffing your own sausage ruin your week? Is it possible to make an edible maraschino cherry? Some of Reese’s discoveries will surprise you: Although you should make your hot dog buns, guacamole and yogurt, you should probably buy your hamburger buns, potato chips and rice pudding. Tired? Buy your mayonnaise. Inspired? Make it.

With its fresh voice and delightful humor, Make the Bread, Buy the Butter gives 120 recipes- get her delicious Pumpkin Pie recipe here.  Reese is relentlessly entertaining as she relates her food and animal husbandry adventures, which amuse and perplex as well as nourish and sustain her family. Her tales include living with a backyard full of cheerful chickens, muttering ducks, and adorable baby goats; countertops laden with lacto-fermenting pickles; and closets full of mellowing cheeses. Here’s the full picture of what is involved in a truly homemade life- with the good news that you shouldn’t try to make everything yourself- and how to get the most out of your time in the kitchen.

Here are some of Reece’s “Make or buy” recommendations:

Hot dog bunsPancakesChocolate cakeGuacamole

Eggs benedict



Dill pickles

Cured meats

Whipped cream

Braised beef


BaguettesSteak tartareSashimiHamburger buns



Hot dogs

Coffee liqueur

Rice pudding

Corn dogs

English muffins

Ice cream cones

Turkish DelightRoasted chickenTortillasApplesauce



Cream cheese

Onion rings

Graham crackers





Jennifer Reese has been a professional journalist all of her adult life, working mostly for national magazines, and has been an avid, adventurous home cook for even longer, which she blogs about at the Tipsy Baker ( as well as for online publications like Slate. Reese also teaches cooking classes in Marin County, California, where she lives with her family.

Buy Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese today!

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