Alana Chernila is a lady after my own DIY heart and a shout-out for her lovely, and incredibly useful, book is long overdue. And you should know upfront that if you invest in this book, you should be prepared to get your hands dirty. Through a combination of her gravitational charm and honest recipes, Alana will have pulled you into the kitchen before you can say, "ricotta."
• Who wrote it: Alana Chernila
• Who published it: Clarkson Potter
• Number of recipes: 101
• Recipes for right now: Yogurt, Maple Popcorn, Sauerkraut, Potato Leek Soup, Pudding, Chicken Nuggets, Veggie Burgers, Lasagne, Breadsticks, Chai, Peanut Butter Cups, Fig Bars
• Other highlights: There are a few things that I love about this book and why it has earned a spot on my very crowded shelf. First, this book has all the basic recipes you might conceivably need in one place, from homemade butter to homemade peanut butter cups. It feels comprehensive. It feels empowering. It feels like I can clear out a few other DIY books and just use this one instead. I love how Alana just gives us the straight-up recipe, no twists or special spins, just the simplest, most easy-to-follow form of the recipe — though, yes, with plenty of exciting variations and tips for getting through tricky spots.
Second, this book is as pleasurable to read as it is to cook from. Her witty recipe titles crack me up, like "Tortillas, or The Only Problem with New England" and "Jerky, or Just You and the Highway." Her recipe headnotes are more truly blog-style mini-stories. They hit just the right note to me, being both entertaining and informative. Reading about her own life, her relationship with her husband, and parenting two young girls, I start to put the recipes into context. I can see how one might conceivably integrate all these homemade projects into daily life.
• Who would enjoy this book? DIY-ers, folks wanting to replace store-bought foods with homemade, new cooks looking for basic recipes
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: The Homemade Pantry:101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making by Alana Chernila
• Visit the author's website: Alana Chernila
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf.
(Images: Emma Christensen)