What's the best part of winter? If you answered "nothing," fair enough -- the skies are grey, the windchill is unforgiving, and the farmers markets are meager. But if you're a cookbook (and Food52) enthusiast, you know that the best part of winter -- without a doubt -- is the annual Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks. It's the shiny beacon of hope we all need to make it to spring -- plus, there's no better time than now to curl up with a few new cookbooks and fill your home with the inviting aromas of new recipes.
Starting on Wednesday, February 18th, join us every weekday morning for a new cookbook match-up, judged by some of our favorite people in the food industry and beyond.
If you're new to the Piglet, here's how it works: It's our NCAA-style tournament in which we seed the 16 best cookbooks from the past year into brackets and face them off. Then, each of our judges cooks from two of the books and delivers their verdict until only one remains -- the 2015 Piglet winner. Each day, we encourage you to weigh in on the outcomes of each judgment.
Just like last year, we'll also be running Piglet Community Picks, in which our community members (yes, you!) cook from our list of 2015 Community Pick nominations, and then deliver their reviews on the site each day.
And, since no championship is complete without a little bubbly, you're invited to join us at the Piglet celebration in March. Check back for details on that in the coming weeks.
Below you'll find our incredible panel of judges, who hail from all corners of food and media. For even more info, head to our 2015 Judges' page.
Adam Roberts, author and creator of the award-winning food blog, The Amateur Gourmet
Rosie Schaap, author of the memoir Drinking With Men and drink columnist for the New York Times Magazine
Ryan Sutton, chief food critic and data lead at Eater
A.J. Jacobs, editor at large of Esquire and author of four New York Times bestselling non-fiction books, including The Year of Living Biblically
Emily Gould, author of Friendship and a member of a cookbook book club with Sadie Stein, Lukas Volger, and Ruth Curry
Alexandra Guarnaschelli, Iron Chef, Food Network chef, and renowned executive chef at New York City's Butter restaurant
Louisa Shafia, author of The New Perisan Kitchen and winner of Food52's 2014 Piglet award (!)
Edward Lee, chef and proprietor of 610 Magnolia, The Wine Studio, and MilkWood, all in Louisville, Kentucky
John T. Edge, director of the Southern Foodways Allaince and columnist for Garden & Gun and Oxford American
Henry Alford, humorist, journalist, and manners columnist for The New York Times
Kate Christensen, author of six novels and, most recently, a memoir: Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites
Melissa Block, host of NPR's All Things Considered
Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli, Brooklyn-based chefs and restauranteurs of Frankies Spuntino and Prime Meats
J. Kenji López-Alt, managing culinary director of Serious Eats and author of James Beard Award-nominated column, The Food Lab
Bill Buford, writer and author of Heat and The New Yorker column “Notes of a Gastronome”
And here's the official list of contenders for the 2015 Piglet. To add any one of these to your bookshelf, click the book title or image. Our official bracket is here; download, print, and fill in your predictions to follow along.
Brooks Headley's Fancy Desserts
by Brooks Headley
A Kitchen in France
by Mimi Thorisson
by Alice Medrich
Baking Chez Moi
by Dorie Greenspan
by Sean Brock
by Gabrielle Hamilton
Lunch at the Shop
by Peter Miller
Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food
by Jody Williams
A Boat, A Whale, & A Walrus
by Renee Erickson
by Maria Elia
A Change of Appetite
by Diana Henry
Bar Tartine: Techniques & Recipes
by Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns
My Paris Kitchen
by David Lebovitz
Olive, Lemons, and Za'atar
by Rawia Bishara
Green Kitchen Travels
by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl