Author Alana Chernila shares her evolution as a "frugal by necessity" home cook in The Homemade Pantry. With a subtitle of 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making, this book matches a diverse list of recipes with a gorgeous color photo and personal story as to how the recipe entered Chernila's life. Through her storytelling, the author reveals her journey to being a successful home cook, which is designed to inspire and empower the reader.It is an autobiography and cookbook simultaneously.
The recipes included in The Homemade Pantry are for staple foods that many folks buy ready-made from the grocer, like instant oatmeal, pop tarts, cereal bars, snack crackers, and condiments. The few meals included are mostly in the sections of frozen foods, pasta, and soups.
Chernila addresses home cooking from the perspective of money, taste, and time, and wants the readers to “do what works for you.” I understand this to mean that recipes may be worth making for taste and quality time (or the thrill) rather than cost. She discusses the lack of packaging and preservatives as potential money and resource savers.
I believe that many of the recipes in this book, especially the snack foods, would be money savers. Snack foods are typically pricey at the stores. The Homemade Pantry is well-organized, but I would add a ‘time required’ note to the sidebar for each recipe. I have a hard time deciding whether to make unfamiliar recipes when the time requirement is unclear.