Monday, February 18, 2013

Latest Review: The Homemade Pantry

Goodreads Summary:
In her debut cookbook, Alana Chernila inspires you to step inside your kitchen, take a look around, and change the way you relate to food. The Homemade Pantry was born of a tight budget, Alana’s love for sharing recipes with her farmers’ market customers, and a desire to enjoy a happy cooking and eating life with her young family. On a mission to kick their packaged-food habit, she learned that with a little determination, anything she could buy at the store could be made in her kitchen, and her homemade versions were more satisfying, easier to make than she expected, and tastier. 
Here are her very approachable recipes for 101 everyday staples, organized by supermarket aisle—from crackers to cheese, pesto to sauerkraut, and mayonnaise to toaster pastries. The Homemade Pantry is a celebration of food made by hand—warm mozzarella that is stretched, thick lasagna noodles rolled from flour and egg, fresh tomato sauce that bubbles on the stove. Whether you are trying a recipe for butter, potato chips, spice mixes, or ketchup, you will discover the magic and thrill that comes with the homemade pantry.
Alana captures the humor and messiness of everyday family life, too. A true friend to the home cook, she shares her “tense moments” to help you get through your own. With stories offering patient, humble advice, tips for storing the homemade foods, and rich four-color photography throughout, The Homemade Pantry will quic
kly become the go-to source for how to make delicious staples in your home kitchen. 

My Thoughts:
So, I have to say...this was a major disappointment.  I was SUPER-excited about this book but it just didn't live up to my expectations.  Usually, when I read a cookbook, the darn thing is just filled with paper scraps to mark all of the recipes I want to copy/use.  This time...three.  I marked three measly recipes (two of which are syrups for soda and the third was the adorable toaster pastries from the cover).  That's pretty pathetic.

My main complaint is that The Homemade Pantry is too basic and, welp, boring.  Making food from scratch isn't really a novel idea.  If the book is going to center around this premise then show some creativity with the recipes.  For example, there was a condiments section that I was really excited about.  I thought "Oooh!  Maybe there'll be some unique vinaigrettes or other different sauces and dressings."  The reality was homemade: ketchup, mustard, salsa (oh please!), hot sauce, Italian dressing, ranch dressing, and other basics.  Yawn!

I already know how to make lasagna, and soups from scratch - so those portions were completely skipped over.  Then there were some things that the time/results ratio was just way too low (but I'm sure there are some folks out there who would disagree with me).  Sorry, but putting in the time to make ricotta cheese from scratch...not gonna happen.

Overall, this just wasn't for me.  If you want to learn the fundamentals of making food from scratch...and are willing to put the time in to make basics by hand, then maybe this is your book.  However, I really don't think that this book will appeal to a large population of folks.  Too bad...because I thought The Homemade Pantry had real potential.

2/5 stars :(


  1. I can't see making homemade ricotta cheese either! Maybe when I was younger and didn't read and had more time or something! LOL

  2. Ugh, this is too bad. I'm trying to eat less processed food so this book appealed to me but if it's so basic, I don't think I'm going to like it.