The Piglet

The 2013 Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks!

By • January 11, 2013 • 68 Comments

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The Piglet is fast approaching...

Starting on Wednesday, February 6th, join us every weekday morning for a new matchup, judged by some of the biggest names in the food world and beyond!

Not familiar with the Piglet? It's our NCAA-style competition in which we seed the 16 best cookbooks from the past year into brackets and face them off. We pass each pair of books to our expert judges, they cook from the books and write up their decisions, and you get to weigh in with your yea or nay on each day's outcome until only one remains -- the 2013 Piglet winner. As a bonus this year, we'll be releasing one Piglet Community Pick each day -- judged by none other than our wonderful community -- until all ten are revealed.

And of course, you're invited to our much-anticipated Piglet party! We'll update you with details very soon.

Here's our fantastic panel of judges, who hail from all corners of food and media:

Adam Sachs, writer and contributing editor at Travel + Leisure and Bon Appetit
Nathan Williams, editor-and-chief of Kinfolk, and Julie Pointer, features editor at Kinfolk 
Chris Ying, editor-in-chief of Lucky Peach 
Meredith Erickson, cookbook author, and David McMillan and Frédéric Morin, cookbook authors, chefs, and owners of Joe Beef
Elizabeth Spiridakis, art director at Bon Appetit
Shauna and Danny Ahern, cookbook authors and bloggers at Gluten Free GIrl and the Chef 
Melissa Clark, cookbook author and writer for The New York Times 
Marco Canora, chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author
Kurt Andersen, novelist, host, and co-creator of Studio 360
James Oseland, editor-in-chief of Saveur 
Wylie Dufresne, chef and owner of wd~50 
Bryant Gumbel, television journalist and sportscaster
Danny Meyer, book author and restaurateur
Stanley Tucci, actor, writer, film producer, and film director
Fergus Henderson, London-based chef and restaurateur

Now what you've all been waiting for, the official list of contenders for the 2013 Piglet. Our official brackets are here -- you can download and print them out, fill in your predictions, and follow along with the competition!

Dirt Candy: A Cookbook: Flavor-Forward Food from the Upstart New York City Vegetarian Restaurant
Amanda Cohen

Beginnings: My Way to Start a Meal
Chris Cosentino

Burma: Rivers of Flavor
Naomi Duguid

Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book
Jake Godby, Sean Vahey, and Paolo Lucchesi

Small Plates & Sweet Treats: My Family’s Journey to Gluten-Free Cooking
Aran Goyoaga

Japanese Farm Food
Nancy Singleton Hachisu

Salt, Sugar, Smoke: How to Preserve Fruit, Vegetables, Meat, and Fish     
Diana Henry

Canal House Cooks Every Day
Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton

Bouchon Bakery Cookbook
Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel

Little Flower: Recipes from the Café
Christine Moore

Roots: The Definitive Compendium with More Than 225 Recipes
Diane Morgan

Asian Tofu: Discover the Best, Make Your Own, and Cook It at Home
Andrea Ngyuen

Jerusalem: A Cookbook
Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
Deb Perelman

Secrets of the Best Chefs: Recipes, Techniques, and Tricks from America's Greatest Cooks
Adam Roberts

Tags: piglet, 2013, tournament of cookbooks, start date, yay!

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Comments (68)


about 2 years ago Morgan Riggs

Asian Tofu without a doubt. Its a great cookbook, a wonderful learning tool, and a good read as well.


about 2 years ago Carolyn Z

I vote for Japanese Farm Food and Bouchon Bakery!


about 2 years ago Barbara Sheridan

We're cheering on LITTLE FLOWER! A marvelous book, and Bakery/Cafe in Pasadena, CA


about 2 years ago Dina Moore-Tzouris

ottolenghi! ottolenghi!(I'm cheering). every recipe is devine. his meringues are the best in the world.


about 2 years ago Dina Moore-Tzouris

sorry for the typo...not so divine.


about 2 years ago raspberryeggplant

Definitely Dirt Candy. It's the only cookbook in my collection that I've read cover to cover, much less in one sitting. It's hilarious, honest, and most of all, enlightening and instructional.


about 2 years ago Amberkaribe

I would choose Canal House Cooks. At the same time many excellent cookbooks.


about 2 years ago bexcellent

Dirt Candy was my favorite cookbook that I haven't cooked from in a long time. I actually stayed up late reading it and laughing. I hope the judge appreciates the differentness as much as I did.


about 2 years ago Jmolaei

It will be difficult job for the judges - so many great books to choose between. I'm glad you're featuring Diana Henry's latest. It's a great book!


about 2 years ago Julie Martenson

I really think it is offensive for the chef to have a dead pig slung over her shoulder, and it certainly allienates a number of potential followers.


about 2 years ago Mary F. Lee

I have to go with Jerusalem! It was a difficult decision, that's for sure!


about 2 years ago Christy Schuchter Sharafinski

Roots by Diane Morgan. Awesome book! (Though in my heart, I'd say the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook should win because dessert ALWAYS wins! :)


about 2 years ago Samantha Angela

I definitely think Jerusalem is going to win. It's all anyone talks about these days!


about 2 years ago Kim O

I'm rooting for Jerusalem!


about 2 years ago Brick Oven Chef

This is tough, going with The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.


about 2 years ago butterygoodness

Jerusalem FTW!


about 2 years ago Drea29

Little Flower is a wonderful cookbook!! She serves up really delicious savories and sweets at her cafe. Easy to follow scrumptious recipes and beautiful photos. Great story too.


about 2 years ago umhamzah

jerusalem all the way! great cookbook!


about 2 years ago Cathalina

Agree. I'm really disturbed by the "Girl and Her Pig" photo. Really, did she have to sling the poor thing over her shoulders?!


about 2 years ago dymnyno

Actually, I had to pick up a pig for a roast . It was surprisingly bloodless and no worse that a slab of bacon. I didn't look it in the eye, though.


about 2 years ago paseo

It's deceased and I doubt that it cares


about 2 years ago AngelaM-E

I agree, Cathalina. To pose for a picture like that seems disrespectful to the pig, but then again I'm a vegetarian and not her target audience anyway.


about 2 years ago GenaCooks

I think it actually shows respect for the pig. For those of us who eat meat, it is important to be mindful of where the meat comes from and how animals are raised. It is disrespectful to purchase poorly raised meat and act like we believe it came from a styrofoam carton rather than an animal. Yet I also have to chime in with another hooray for Dirt Candy. It's awesome!


about 2 years ago Matrish

Wow! I'm glad I'm not a real judge! All of these cookbooks are amazing. Can't wait until it starts!


about 2 years ago Suzi jacuzzi

Have been on an absolute smitten kitchen cookbook tear for weeks now. Have not stopped making her recipes and so far have had all winners. Someone just must make the chocolate silk pie and tell me if that is not a winner- put a wee bit more salt in the crust than recipe calls for and watch people's eyes light up!,,


about 2 years ago ddecrette

Is Melissa's book NOT included because she is on the panel? Hands down. She wins.


about 2 years ago LindsayC77

Agreed. I have never made a bad Melissa Clark recipe -- all winners.


about 2 years ago chardrucks

Melissa didn't have a new cookbook published in 2012. We love her books too.


about 2 years ago happycao

oh wow, that is HARD! Good luck judges!
This is going to be a fun Piglet!


about 2 years ago ChristineQ

Can't wait- Love the piglet!


about 2 years ago Omeletta

Ruthy is a Recipe Tester for Food52

What a great selection of cookbooks! I'm super excited to read the verdicts.


about 2 years ago dymnyno

The chosen cookbooks represent a real cross section of the new cookbooks. I wish that Linda Lau Anusasananan's The Hakka Cookbook was on the is truly an amazing work! I have been using The Bouchon Bakery, Jerusalem and Canal House Cooks regularly. I am picking up Salt, Sugar, Smoke at the CIA tomorrow.


about 2 years ago The Spiced Life

Anyone else noticing the lack of baking books? I am sad to not see Simply Sensational Cookies.


about 2 years ago dymnyno

I am so glad the The Bouchon Bakery cookbook is included. I loved reading it and I'm lucky enough to live near the bakery.


about 2 years ago walkie74

To tell you the truth, the "Girl and Her Pig" photo made me hungry. I like the idea of knowing where my food comes from, even if it's being reminded that it comes from a dead animal. At the very least, I should respect the source.


about 2 years ago LizyG

The "Girl and her pig" photo creeps me out. I love pig, just don't like it dead and posing around someone's shoulder. It's an a dead animal, we should respect him. PS it looks just like my pittbull....sorry, had to comment.


about 2 years ago AngelaM-E

I'm SO EXCITED!!!! Yea, Smitten Kitchen!!!!


about 2 years ago Gourmet Metrics

Impressive list of cookbooks. And an equally impressive list of judges.


about 2 years ago Cynthia Grandjean

Can't wait to see how Jerusalem and Smitten Kitchen fare!


about 2 years ago jacksonholefoodie

This year's Piglet will be even more challenging than predicting the Oscar for best actor. I am so glad Smitten Kitchen made the list.


about 2 years ago Tallgrass Kitchen

I adore Stanley Tucci.


over 2 years ago Scoff

hooray! and Smitten Kitchen and Diana Henry are FANTASTIC. can't wait for another round of Piglet fun.


over 2 years ago mcs3000

LOVE the Piglet. Awesome lineup of judges + books.


over 2 years ago Diane Morgan

Oh my gosh, I am so honored and humbled to have my cookbook Roots on this list. What a list of authors to be included in--so humbled. Thank you


about 2 years ago Omeletta

Ruthy is a Recipe Tester for Food52

I'm very happy to see Roots on here- definitely one of my favorite cookbooks lately! You did an outstanding job, it's a phenomenal book and I know I'll be using it for years to come.


over 2 years ago Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

2012 was a super year for cookbooks. A couple of my very favorite newcomers are on this list, and there are more on the ones that we 52ers get to review. One I wish had made the lists is Charles Phan's Vietnamese at Home. But there are a bunch I don't know, and it's always exciting to see how my library expands in February. Even more fun is the reminder that it all is indeed in fun! A celebration more than a contest. Let's get to it!


over 2 years ago Pamela Trefler

I, too, wish Charles Phan's, "Vietnamese at Home" made the list. It's a book that was long awaited. Everything I have made out of it has been very good.


about 2 years ago The Spiced Life

Agree, I too wish it had made the list.


over 2 years ago susan g

to me

When the previous Piglets came up, I told myself I wouldn't spend time reading the reports. Yet each time I found myself drawn in, reading every word written, taking sides. Time to admit I'll do it again, and start right from the beginning! Amazing book choices this year...


over 2 years ago susan g

Well, that's a strange glitch. I wasn't signed in when I wrote that...?


over 2 years ago Nancy Singleton Hachisu

I am so honored to see Japanese Farm Food on this incredible list. I'm looking forward (I think!) to the competition. This will be the first year for me to see it all unroll as I just heard about the Piglets earlier this year from my pal Elise Bauer. Sometimes living in the Japanese countryside is like living in a bubble. (And sometimes not: have computer can connect, have airplane ticket can fly.) Thanks!


over 2 years ago JadeTree

Yay! I look forward to this all year and this looks like a greatline-up of cooks and judges! And am very interested in the new Community Pick category. Lots of fun for the food geeks!


over 2 years ago sel et poivre

Yayyyy I can't wait!! eeeee


over 2 years ago Savour

Yay! Little Flower is my neighborhood cafe and I adore it (though the best thing they serve are the lavender scones which are, sadly, not in the cookbook)


over 2 years ago creamtea

Yay! Really looking forward!


over 2 years ago ChefCitron

Hooray- fantastic lineup, Food52! Looking forward to a spirited competition!


over 2 years ago Barbara Sheridan

This is thrilling! I'm very excited! My husband and I were just at Little Flower Cafe/Bakery in Pasadena. Not only is the food delicious, but the art on the walls and the music accompanying the meal, all added to an amazing lunch. And the owner's sea salt caramels, Oh My!!


over 2 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Yay!!!! I love the Piglet


over 2 years ago eatboutique

Excited! I love the Piglet.


over 2 years ago WinnieAb

Fun! I love The Piglet!!!!


over 2 years ago dymnyno

Very impressive lineup of judges! This will be fun!


over 2 years ago witloof

Uh, oh... too many sentimental favorites from NYC for me to be able to root for just one! Great lineup. Go, Adam and Deb!


over 2 years ago cookinginvictoria

What a great list of cookbooks and judges. Wow -- can't wait for the fun to begin!


over 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Great nominees! I'm rooting for Dirt Candy! It's like, two, two, two books in one!


over 2 years ago Shalini

Omygod! Love the list of cookbooks! And judges! And the whole thing!


over 2 years ago healthierkitchen

Love the Piglet - it's a highlight of the year!


over 2 years ago EmilyC

I'm SO looking forward to this!


over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Eek! Can't wait!