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Books in brief

(article, Culinate staff)

Jennifer Reese, the author of Make the Bread, Buy the Butter, keeps a blog called the Tipsy Baker. One of her website's regular departments is called 18-Minute Book Reviews, which is basically just snapshot reviews of whatever she's read lately. 

The real gold here is the feed on the right side of the page, which announces which book Reese is "Currently Cooking Through" (right now, that's The Homesick Texan Cookbook, from fellow blogger Lisa Fain) and "Cookbooks We've Survived." This list is even briefer and to-the-point; it's helpful and hilarious. A recent sample:

bq. Burma, by Naomi Duguid. Shelf essential? Yes.
The Suriani Kitchen, by Lathika George. Shelf essential? If you consider a Suriani cookbook a cornerstone of any respectable collection, yes.
Bread and Chocolate, by Fran Gage. Shelf essential? A lovely little book, but no.
The Cuisines of Spain, by Teresa Barrenechea. Shelf essential? No.
Mozza, by Nancy Silverton. Shelf essential? For the pizza dough and the meatballs, yes.
Tender, by Nigel Slater. Shelf essential? In my view, no.
The Best of the Best from California. Shelf essential? Oh no. No, no, no.
Soul of a New Cuisine, by Marcus Samuelsson. Shelf essential? No. Some good African-inspired recipes here, but not enough.
Super Natural Every Day, By Heidi Swanson. Shelf essential? A beautiful and thoughtful book. Yes.
Guy Fieri Food, by Guy Fieri. Shelf essential? No. Full of over-the-top, outlandish dishes (Irish nachos?) that most people won't want to cook often, if ever.
Around My French Table, by Dorie Greenspan. Shelf essential? Yes. One of the most reliable and charming cookbooks I've ever worked from. A should-be classic.