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Undecided about whether to make it or buy it, this book should help

October 28, 2011 - Kathie Evanoff
I’m a big fan of blogs.

Blogs, a mashed-together version of two words, web log (leave off the we), entertain me more than any program on television. I read several favorite blogs by writers who share my interests. Reading blogs doesn’t take a lot of extra time because most bloggers don’t post every day making it easy to keep up.

I not only have been reading blogs for years (they burst onto the Internet scene about 2004), but I am particularly fascinated by bloggers who have turned their social diaries into new careers. The bloggers’ writing skills were discovered by agents and publishers who took notice that many, many people read and comment. If people like to read the blogs, the publishers discovered, they would also buy the books. And they do.

I only recently discovered a cooking blogger I found extremely entertaining. Jennifer Reese is fairly new to the blogging world. Reese began writing The Tipsy Baker, in 2006 and even then there was only one post that consisted of one sentence, “Tipsy Baker is tipsy and full of tips, on baking.” There were no blogs in 2007 and then in 2008, Reese seemed to find her blogging voice and she burst back onto the Internet with 197 posts that year. Her intention was to plow through her cook book collection, which she claims consists of more than 1,000 volumes, while describing these adventures in her blog.

The first few comments the blog received seemed to be mostly spam. As with most bloggers, it took a long time for people to notice. I suspect that with the publication of her new book, “Make the Bread, Buy the Butter,” published by Free Press, a division of Simon and Shuster, Reese is going to see a surge of comments and find herself a new following.

I have been reading and browsing through Reese’s book for several days since receiving a review and it is one of the most refreshing cookbooks I’ve read since Marsha Adams wrote “Cooking from Quilt Country.”

Reese answers the question, is it better to make it from scratch or just buy it? The book includes recipes for everything from butter to cheese. It was delightful reading her experiences raising chickens, first as an experiment to see if it was better financially to just because they made her smile.

In addition to raising chickens, Reese describes her first vegetable garden, what it’s like to slaughter her own meat, harvesting honey, keeping goats and walks down memory lane with accounts of her childhood food experiences. Her writing is easy and enjoyable, and provides plenty of chuckles, even to my patient husband who often was called into the next room so I could read aloud Reese’s latest exploit.

Not new to the writing world, Reese has worked as a journalist most of her adult life. As she explains in the book, she decided to embark on these “kitchen-related experiments” after finding herself unemployed and forced to economize.

The book contains 120 recipes and Reese’s opinion about making each one, not only whether it is worth it to make it or buy it but whether it was worth the hassle as well.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves to cook and enjoys a good laugh in the process.


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