Friday, April 13, 2012

The Homemade Pantry

Read any good books lately?  I have.

A few days ago, I followed a link and stumbled upon a blog that I knew at once I would love.  Eating From the Ground Up is written by Alana Chernila.  She talks a lot about my favorite things, family and real food.  It just so happened that I found her blog about a week after her first book, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making , hit the shelves.  On a whim, I purchased it.  

The little brown Amazon box hit my doorstep two days later and I ripped it open like a child on Christmas.  My darling husband looked on skeptically but at this point he is used to such excitement over things like new cookbooks.  By noon the next day, I'd devoured the book cover to cover.  Now I love a good read and I love a good cookbook, but most of all, I love an instance where the two come together to make something completely wonderful.  Alana's book is filled with delicious recipes and beautiful photography woven together on a rich tapestry of family life.

The title pretty much sums up the recipe content of the book.  Learn to make everything from mayonnaise to fruit roll-ups to pasta and soups.  What normally might come across as intimidating endeavors become downright achievable with Alana's blurbs about "tense moments" (you know, those times when cooking that you aren't sure everything is going to plan) and instructions on storing the foods for later use. 

Each recipe is introduced with a personal story, just a paragraph or two from Alana with some sort of relation to the food at hand.  Within the first 10 pages of the book, I was hooked.  I was reduced to laughter at the idea of leaving out a bowl of dry cereal for the early rising two year old (haven't we all tried something like this?).  I was wooed by the idea of a wedding reception full of lovingly made lasagnas.  I related completely to the idea of cornbread as safety and mac and cheese as consolation for loss. 

Usually when I obtain a new cookbook, the first thing I do is go through and dog ear the pages of the things I must try right away.  There are no dog eared pages in my new copy of The Homemade Pantry.  No, I fully intend on properly abusing it the way a well-loved cookbook should be abused.  I've already broken the spine so it would lay flat while I made Car Snacks last night, but I want to cook it all.  I couldn't just pick a few pages.  It really is that good. 

If you fancy yourself a homemaker, give this book a read.  If you are anything like me, you'll find yourself enchanted by the idea of a homemade pantry and bolstered enough to get in the kitchen and make it happen.  As Alana says, in order to become the kind of person who makes butter, all you have to do is start making butter! 

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