The Piglet: A Cookbook Smackdown

Piglet_logo The new cooking website food52 has announced "The Piglet," which founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs are calling a "tournament of cookbooks."

Think March Madness, only in October and with cookbooks instead of basketball teams.

Sixteen cookbooks published in 2009 (see list below) will be reviewed head-to-head in a bracketed competition modeled on The Mornings News' annual "Tournament of Books" to pick the best novel of the year.

The cookbooks will be judged by a panel of writers, chefs, and celebrities that includes Dan Barber, Gabrielle Hamilton, and Gwyneth Paltrow, among others. Tournament rounds will take place over the next three weeks, beginning on October 14, and culminating in a "celebratory event" at Astor Center in New York City on November 9 (check back at the food52 website for updates on ticket information).

Here's the complete list of books that will be judged:

Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller
Babycakes by Erin McKenna
Canal House Cooking by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton
I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci
Lobel's Meat Bible by Stanley, Evan, Mark, and David Lobel
Momofuku by David Chang and Peter Meehan
My New Orleans by John Besh
Ratio by Michael Ruhlman
Real Cajun by Donald Link and Paula Disbrowe
Salt to Taste by Marco Canora
Serious Barbecue by Adam Perry Lang
Seven Fires by Francis Mallmann
The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook by Michelle and Philip Wojtowicz, and Michael Gilson
The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern by Matt Lee and Ted Lee
The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz
Well-Preserved by Eugenia Bone

Which one do you think is the top seed? What's the biggest underdog? My money is on Thomas Keller to take the prize.



Don't count out John Besh. I just picked up his opus My New Orleans and literally and figuratively it is a heavyweight. This is the best cookbook I have seen in years. It manages to perfectly balance being a beautiful coffee table book, an accessible reference of mouthwatering and inspiring recipes anyone can do at home, and an fascinating memoir about the importance of food and place in our lives. This book is a boost to the New Orleans travel industry and thebirth of a new food movement. It's that good. (and its 5 bucks cheaper than Keller)


A cookbook smackdown? This is part of the WWE, right? (See )

My money's on Eugenia Bone. Now that she's managed by Hulk Hogan she's a shoe-in. She'll have Thomas Keller pinned with a figure-four leglock with minutes of the start of the match.


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