Jannerbear's review hits the nail on the head. Unfortunately, his review was written just after I bought this book.
I am partially self sufficient. By that I mean I live in an urban situation, with a small garden and an allotment, but grow and make as much as I can for myself. Always willing to learn new skills and forever groping around for new ideas, I thought I'd give this book a try. Now, within days of my purchase, it's gone in the pile of items to go to the charity shop.
So why did I buy the book? Because I don't know everything, and wanted to try out some new recipes for things I haven't made before. Like chocolate spread for example. Or, following the recipe in Precycle, nut butter with crunchy grains of sugar coloured with cocoa powder. Or Granola bars - or perhaps that should be Disgusting, Dry, Bland Bars. Okay, in his defence Peacock does state that you should experiment with the recipes and adapt them to your own pallet, but the amount of adapting that needs doing to make them palletable negates the need for the book.
The book, as it says in the blurb, '...takes you on a trip down the supermarket aisles and shows you how you can make what you find on the shelves for a fraction of the cost...'. Like Jannerbear, I was irritated that Paul Peacock's idea of making your own involves buying different products to use as ingredients - the baked beans using shop-bought passata being a prime example. But hey, if you buy passata in jars you can bottle the beans in the jars afterwards.
As someone who makes my own bread, I thought I would check out Peacock's bread recipes. Dry quick yeast is listed in the ingredients. Dry quick yeast? I haven't bought a loaf of bread in over 2 years - and I haven't bought any yeast either. Surely, if you want to cut down on supermarket shopping and packaging the best recipe would be a sour-dough recipe where you nurture your own yeast (and for those who haven't tried it, it doesn't taste sour).
Having made butter in the past I was interested to see that Peacock makes butter in a milk bottle. It takes a long time to do it this way, and makes your arms ache, but is successful and I have no nits to pick with this suggestion. However, having separated the fat from the buttermilk, we are then told, "The first salting brings out the rest of the buttermilk from the butter..." Now I know what is meant by this, but a complete novice would have to then go away and look up what is meant. It doesn't say how to do the "first salting", or how many saltings are needed.
Similarly, the recipe for scones tells us that the lemon juice is used to "acidify the milk which will sometime make it curdle slightly. This makes the scones light as it reacts with the bicarbonate of soda in the baking powder". What baking powder? The recipe calls for self-raising flour. Personally, I don't buy self-raising flour and make my own by adding baking powder to plain flour. When I don't have baking powder, I make that by combinding cream of tartar with bicarbonate of soda. But if I didn't have this knowledge, I would have wondered what baking powder Peacock was referring to. This, along with the butter-making example and others, makes me feel that this book is not suitable for someone who has no prior knowledge. If you do have prior knowledge, there is not enough in this book to make it worthwhile buying it.
Disappointed within minutes of receiving this book, I was complaining about it to my other half, and decided to read him an example. I then couldn't find what I was looking for. There is no index. NO INDEX!!! Added to the 'matey' manner the book is written in, the many, many typos, the missing information and the repetitiveness (it often says the same thing twice - word for word, and even on the same page), this book comes across as very unprofessional. If you really want to read this book, I suggest you borrow it from the library. If you really want to buy a good book that tells you how to reduce your dependency on supermarkets and how to reduce your carbon footprint, look instead for one of the many books about self-sufficiency such as John Seymour's 'Complete Guide to Self-Sufficiency', or 'The Self Sufficient-ish Bible' by Dave and Andy Hamilton.