I love cookbooks. I love looking at them and browsing them, even if I never end up making anything from them. Unfortunately, my shelf space for cookbooks is miniscule, so I had to pare down my collection to just a few and now whenever I see a new one I want, I have to weigh whether or not it will be valuable to me. Is it pretty? Is it functional? Will I make more than one recipe from it? Would I buy it as a gift for someone else?
The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila gets a resounding YES to all of those questions. It's both pretty and functional (meaning it has useful qualities besides just recipes), I'll make multiple recipes from it, and I already have several people that will be getting copies of it for Christmas this year. I LOVED this book.
The layout of the book is fantastic. Each and every recipe is introduced with a small, one-page story as to how the author came up with the recipe and why she wanted to make a homemade version of that particular item. Family tidbits are included, which I loved, and she never comes off as "preachy" about using store bought items, rather than making everything. If you want to buy buttermilk, rather than making it, then go for it!
Each recipe is also accompanied by a beautiful photo, displaying the recipe in all its glory. I really appreciate the extra time/money/effort that comes from a cookbook that includes a photo for each recipe. It's so much easier to make something that is visually calling to you! The entire book feels like something Chernila put together herself, in her kitchen, rather than being commercial in a "fake" kitchen.
I, unfortunately, had to return it to the library before I made anything from the book, but next time payday comes around, you can bet I'm buying it for myself. I have quite a few recipes from it that I already want to try:
-Instant oatmeal (Aaron eats the most natural kind I can find at work almost every day, but I would love to send a mason jar of homemade with him)
It's definitely my new favorite book and I'm highly recommending you all heading out and picking one up for yourselves.
The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Making and Start Buying