Make the Bread, Buy the Butter - What do you prefer to make from scratch, and what do you prefer to buy?

Purely a coincidence. I actually thought I typed 50!

The title is everything.

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Last August, when I was evacuated from my home due to the CalDor fire I spent a couple of weeks with some friends in Auburn. They had a huge garden of tomatoes, berries, and peaches. My first breakfast was berries and peaches, which was delicious, and nothing like supermarket fruit.

At the end of the next evening, I had a peach pie that was one of the best pies I have ever had (and I have never been a peach pie fan).

Growing your own can seriously change the game!


We are a 2 person household, we live on outer Cape Cod. Our options for groceries and take-out are quite limited. So I have learned how to cook some Asian recipes to satisfy our cravings for those cuisines - usually have to order ingredients online. We tend to cook big batches of soups, stews, chili, meatloaf, meatballs, meat sauces and feed the freezer. We buy all of our condiments, some rice pilaf mixes, pasta, Rao’s marinara, canned tomatoes, canned beans, salsa, chicken & beef broths.

We do grow tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, carrots and beans in our summer garden but eat all of it and don’t preserve anything.

We don’t eat much bread or sweets and I hate to bake, so we buy bread/rolls and occasionally cookies when we want them.


I started making sourdough bread shortly after Covid hit in earnest last year. Locally our supermarkets sell sourdough boules for $4.99-$5.99 or so but artisan places are more like $12.99, so baking your own is a huge saving assuming I get similar results……. which are astounding different in taste and texture from the lower priced products.

There is a significant time commitment in making your own SD, and there can be a challenging learning curve, but I’ve never yet had a result that I wouldn’t eat. I love to cook but always felt baking was too much work. If you’re thinking of trying SD just know that you have to care for your starter, then figure out what works for you in terms of ingredients, dough handling, fermentation timing, proofing, and baking. The last ‘method’ I followed stretched out to almost 48 hours.


I seem to remember a make or buy thread too

Easier to answer about growing
Scotch Bonnet peppers
Aji Amarillo peppers

When it comes to make, much to my husband’s chagrin, I tend to “make” things from produce I have from the garden or CSA, and things that last like shrubs, hot sauce, preserves. He would prefer I do everythingfrom scratch. My fault; that’s how it used to be.

I was thinking of signing him up for that “Lasagna Love” recently posted by @Sasha here on HO.

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Do it hahahaha!

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Came across this old thread that I also started a while back - different questions, though.

Very well organized response, @naf!

Lots of good points and overlap for me.

Your mention of jams made me remember preserved lemons, which are so expensive to buy here but were ridiculously easy to make. Even easier with a sous vide setup. Ditto limoncello, which turned a $10 bottle of vodka into something special.

Extending the thought from preserved lemons, I usually buy indian pickle (unless I have some given by family) but I made my first pickle last year - lime - and it inspired me to explore some more because it was both easy and more delicious than what I buy - reminiscent of my mom’s/grandmom’s. Only factor against is that I don’t eat much pickle in general, so there’s the “why” countering my curiosity / desire to learn.

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It was one thing I couldn’t stick with through the pandemic. I am so tempted to try again, though.

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Even though there is no shortage of options in nyc, I identify with this after my experience last year in CA.

Lots of looking up and learning favorite dishes due to family food allergies (gluten, soy, dairy just for starters) that made takeout restrictive, and then a general lack of good versions of the takeout we wanted to eat.

I found the availability of some ingredients very hard but I think the dramatic rise in online grocery shopping actually helped, as more asian stores added that option (H-mart arriving on Instacart elicited loud hurrahs!)