Food52 Cookbook Update

November 17, 2010 • 70 Comments

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Food52 Cookbook

The first food52 cookbook is coming together swiftly (there's even an Amazon page already -- pre-order away!) and we want your input. It's only fitting that the first crowd-sourced cookbook would call on that very crowd to help shape the book's design, so we'd love your help in deciding on the subtitle and the reading line (basically just more explanatory text for the front cover) below.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below by end-of-day this Friday, November 19th, and stay tuned as we throw more decisions your way. Mark your calendars too: the book hits the streets June 14, 2011!

The subtitle:

125 Winning Recipes from the Best Home Cooks


125 Winning Recipes from Exceptional Home Cooks

And the reading line:

"A New Kind of Community Cookbook"


"52 weeks of recipe contests. X entries. X votes. 1,300 hours in the test kitchen."


So what do you think? Feel free to toss around other ideas too -- this is your cookbook, after all.


Jump to Comments (70)

Comments (70)


about 4 years ago lorinarlock

What about a middle ground, like:
A new kind of community cookbook built from 52 weeks of recipe contests, sharing and cooking....


about 4 years ago julie_chicago

I like the first subtitle and the first reading line.


about 4 years ago rpenovich

Wow A&M--you asked for feedback and now you've got it! Your publisher might be feeling there are too many cooks in this cookbook kitchen right about now. Nevertheless, I think it's great you asked the Food52 community for their opinions--just shows how innovative and cool this crowd-sourcing concept to cooking and cookbookery is!

My 2 cents (or teaspoons): I would buy a book that touted "125 exceptional recipes from today's home cooks" because great recipes are hard to find and any book that has put in the due diligence of testing, re-testing, getting others to test, and tasting and getting feedback from people who cook and eat is a real gem. There are ordinary recipes out there in abundance and bad/flawed ones out there in greater abundance; Food 52 is about the standouts; the exceptions to the norm; the quality of product you get when you go through this vigorous process of asking cooks for their 'best' recipes and then putting them to the test and letting the cook community decide. The reading line would then support that promise: "52 weeks of recipe contests. X entries. X votes. 1,300 hours in the test kitchen."


about 4 years ago Loves Food Loves to Eat

I agree!


about 4 years ago JSCooks

What a thoughtful group. Kaybe -- I like devoted, or maybe dedicated -- nice! The descriptor is a difficult issue. For me, the thing that makes Food52 special is that no credentials are required to post a recipe or participate in rating them. Some people are accomplished home or even professional chefs, some are casual, occasional home cooks. Food52 levels the playing field, and that really appeals to me. There's no snobbism about past experience or platform -- the recipes speak for themselves and we decide together which are most loved. But there also are plenty of hidden gems that might not rise up as winners but which provide very good food for thought and for the table. This is what I was trying to get at with "ordinary" but perhaps it's not the right word to capture the concept that Food52 is here for anyone to participate. No barrier to entry. How to capture that? True, AntoniaJames, whatever we have to say here, in the end Amanda and Merrill and the good folks at Harper Collins will throw it all into the blender and out of it will come something delicious. Or perhaps, in the spirit of Food52, they will narrow the choices down to 2 and we will vote in the winner!


about 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I like this discussion. I'm with the others who do not think the cooks whose recipes were selected by A&M and then voted best by the community are "ordinary" cooks. As one of them, I certainly don't want to be described that way on the front of a hard cover book. I worry a bit that "home cook" will drive people away from the book, given the enormous number of not-even-ordinary recipes out there created and/or published by home cooks. I like the words "extraordinary" and "exceptional" to describe the community, the cooks and/or the recipes. I like the word "new" to describe the community, but there is nothing new about what kind of cook I am. I like the word "winning" because it doesn't just mean, in this day and age, contest winners. This seems like the kind of naming project where the editors (of food52 and of Harper Collins) should do what we've heard about other editors of cookbooks doing, that is, to put all the great words up on a wall and move them around until they get the best combination. ;o)


about 4 years ago foodfighter

Exceptional preferred to Best. Also, what about something like....

"Bringing you the benefits of too many cooks in the kitchen"


about 4 years ago mklug

"A New Kind of Community...A New Kind of Cook".


about 4 years ago Margy@hidethecheese

I prefer "Exceptional" to "Best" for the subtitle and "Community Cookbook" for the reading line. Given the other comments, though, how about moving "Exceptional" to modify the recipes instead of the cooks to preserve that homespun feel that others have talked about: "125 Exceptional Recipes from Today's Home Cooks." And on the reading line, is it more important to focus on the newness of the community or the newness of the type of cookbook? Although I think both are fantastic, the enduring community that this site has created is the most innovative and exciting part of the process. So maybe something along the lines of, "An Innovative Cookbook from a New Kind of Community." So exciting!


about 4 years ago Kayb

I come down on the side of "a new kind of community cookbook." I think that defines us well. I lean toward exceptional recipes from home cooks -- not "ordinary" home cooks, as I don't think we're exactly "ordinary" in that regard, but I hesitate to call us "best" or "exceptional." Devoted home cooks, maybe.


about 4 years ago TiggyBee

I understand all viewpoints here and I'll just add that after perusing the 52 winners from the first 52 weeks, there just is no getting around the fact that there is nothing ordinary about them. These are thoughtful and creative people whose passion and talent sings loud and clear. That, in my opinion, is what makes this community appealing and I think to all levels of cooks. It's certainly not exclusionary to deem something "extraordinary" and it's a community of wonderful people that I've learned a lot from.


about 4 years ago Culinista Annouchka

125 Winning Recipes from Exceptional Home Cooks; 52 weeks of recipe contests. X entries. X votes. 1,300 hours in the test kitchen


about 4 years ago JSCooks

I'll chime in to say that I reacted poorly to "exceptional" and "best." The whole point of food52, or at least I thought it the whole point, is that the contributors represent everyone -- the ordinary -- not those who would be classified as extraordinary or best. I'd like to see more of a "just like me" feel to it.

How about this:

125 Extraordinary Recipes from Ordinary Home Cooks

And the reading line:
The community-grown cookbook that has grown (spawned?) a community of its own
Join us at the table for a new kind of potluck


about 4 years ago MyCommunalTable

Okay, this is a really good point. I love what you have to say, JSCooks. I also love how much I am always learning and growing. This commnity helps me become a better cook everyday.


about 4 years ago dymnyno

The word potluck is not an elegant word but it is very homey!


about 4 years ago Ann

Exceptional Home Cooks and 52 weeks of recipe contests. X entries. X votes. 1,300 hours in the test kitchen (or monkeymom's suggestion).


about 4 years ago betteirene

Oh, dear God, please, don't. Well, maybe it's not all that bad, but to me, "125 Winning Recipes from the Best Home Cooks" and "125 Winning Recipes from Exceptional Home Cooks" sound like offspring publications of "Taste of Home," as does "52 weeks of recipe contests. . .1,300 hours in the test kitchen." It doesn't say anything about the sophistication and the "newness" (not novelty) of these recipes, even though they're made by everyday people who cook at home.

But I do like "A New Kind of Community Cookbook." If that could be combined with "52 weeks of winning recipes," with less emphasis on the contests, I'd be happy.

I also like chopchop's "" idea, too.

This'll teach you to ask for our opinions, won't it. Wonder what would happen if you asked us about thick or thin crust pizza. . .


about 4 years ago dymnyno

This is the proverbial can of worms!


about 4 years ago mopjocky

Another vote for "The Food 52 Cookbook and 125 Winning Recipes from Exceptional Cooks " The reading line could have both choice under it .


about 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

More thoughts: I think our book would appeal to a wider audience if the words "best" and "exceptional", to describe the cooks, were omitted all together. It could say something like: "125 Winning Recipes from Home Cooks Around the World." After all, food52 is about sourcing the best recipes, not the best cooks, and something I remember from way back when the site started, "the best recipes come from home cooks." Home cooks are just regular people, who happen to like cooking, and have some really good recipes to share.

Also, the more I look at the 1st reading line, the more I don't like it. I understand you're going for the "community cookbook" association of, like, a Women's Auxiliary or a Junior League community cookbook, or something. But now all I can picture is the Stepford Wives Community Cookbook. Can you tell I've been over-thinking this? Whatever you do, I know I will love this book.


about 4 years ago dymnyno



about 4 years ago ChopChop

Could your graphic designer create a title (with distinctive fonts, etc) that would convey cookbook? would be a strong typeface/font style/bold color. The trailing characters, "munity," would be softer. Short and to the point, embracing the internet (dot com) roots and the community of culinary collaborators. Not sure "The" is needed in the title.


about 4 years ago happycao

ooo... I agree, and I'd love to be the one help design it!


about 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

yes, this sounds really cool!


about 4 years ago maryvelasquez

I really like "Exceptional Home Cooks" and "A New Kind of Community Cookbook." They capture the spirit of food52.


about 4 years ago melissav



about 4 years ago MyCommunalTable

Agreed, as well!


about 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I do really like monkeymom's suggestion as opposed to either of the proposed lines, however, I think that dymnymo's point about food52 being a new space for a timeless community of homecooks, rather than a new community is important to convey. Although, I guess the line says it's a new kind of community cookbook, not a new kind of community. Hmmmmm.


about 4 years ago bella s.f.

I really like the phrase "A New Kind of Community Cookbook", because this web-site and your book defines what a community should be. People who have things in common, and also share things that come from a special place inside of them. It is what communities should be.

I actually am not really thrilled with either subtitle. Labeling these cooks as the "best" is too subjective. There are a lot of us out here who are awfully good also. "Exceptional" is better, but really, I still keep thinking that the community is the important part of this. I have looked upon this website as "ordinary" Joes (and Josephines) who love to cook, which for us, is a way to show our love for cooking as well as love to show our love to and for others.